The holidays come with travel plans, gift-giving, merry-making, and awkward family issues, which bring stressful topics such as money, family, religion, and general stress to the surface.
For individuals struggling with addiction or recovering addicts, the holidays can be doubly difficult and triggering, which could easily lead to a relapse. Additionally, during a time of overindulgence, it takes more self-control to abstain from preferred substances. At Midwest Recovery Center, we offer addiction treatment therapies to help you recover from holiday relapses.
Addiction Struggles During the Holidays
While everyone gets to let loose and indulge during the holidays, individuals recovering from addiction need to practice more caution to reduce the chances of a relapse. This can be isolating and cause people with addiction to feel lonely and anxious. If they slip up and break their promise to consume moderately or maintain sobriety, the resulting guilt is even more detrimental. Below are some of the ways this group of people experiences difficult struggles during the holidays:
- Hiding the Addiction: Different individuals may decide to hide their status from their loved ones for various reasons. However, shame, guilt, fear of judgment, and social stigmas are the most common causes. This deception becomes more difficult during the holidays, and if some of the family members are aware, there is a constant fear of being exposed. Family therapy could remedy this problem by educating the need for social support during recovery.
- Uncomfortable Judgment: Holidays come with awkward conversations, secrets, and unpopular opinions being aired, especially with the help of alcohol. Becoming the talk at the dinner table can be deeply painful for an individual struggling with addiction.
- Emotional and Physical Triggers: The holidays often involve engagement with close and extended family members and visiting family homes, which could come with memories of past trauma or factors that led to the substance use. Various rehabilitation centers offer safe environments that provide privacy and take away triggers or temptations.
How to Navigate Holidays and Addictions
Holidays often come with memories of awkward family dynamics, past trauma, emotional triggers, and temptations through get-togethers and parties where substances may be present. Below are tips that can help you maintain your sobriety and still participate in the holiday activities:
- Remember, you are not alone: Millions struggle with the uncomfortable feelings of the holidays, and it is essential to share with those you trust if you are struggling.
- The holidays are like any other day: Reminding yourself that holidays are simply like any other day of the year helps you remain in perspective. Continue to practice your coping skills and engage in your recovery routine like you would any other day.
- Forget and forgive the past: Though triggers may be all around, it is useful to remind yourself that the memories, experiences, and traumas are in the past. Sobriety offers an opportunity to create new memories and practice kindness with yourself.
- You do not have to participate: Sobriety gives you the power of choice; you can choose not to participate in anything that evokes discomfort or that might trigger you.
- Sobriety is always number one: the holidays or any other regular day, stay active in your recovery and continue with your routines.
- Consider going to rehab during the holidays: The holidays are filled with temptations and triggers, and research confirms that substance abuse ramps up over the holidays.
It can be a challenge to maintain the sobriety you’ve worked so hard for during the holidays. With pressures and stress coming from work and family, it can lead many people to relapse. But it’s important to remember that even during the holidays there is support available.
Discover the Addiction Treatment Necessary at Midwest Recovery Center
Notably, individuals struggling with addiction need always to remember that they are the ones that control whether they relapse during the holidays. In the case of a relapse or slip-up, shame and guilt are a natural response. Relapse is not something to feel shame over; it’s part of the recovery process. What matters most is what you or a loved one does after relapse happens. It’s an opportunity to strengthen one’s resolve to maintain and nurture sobriety.
Here at Midwest Recovery Center, we aim to equip all parties with vital tools during instances such as holidays and addictions. Your family and loved ones can offer support, but it is not their responsibility to keep you sober. Explore some of the therapies we offer to help individuals overcome addiction, like:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Trauma therapy