Relapse is More Common During the Holidays. Learn How to Protect Your Recovery.

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What’s supposed to be one of the most wonderful times of the year is often the most stressful. Between an increase in social gatherings, holiday spending and high expectations, many people end up feeling more stress than joy during the holidays. And when you’re new to recovery, you’re especially vulnerable to this stress.

The combination of holiday-related stress and temptation is the perfect recipe for relapse, which is why it’s more common during the holidays. However, this does not mean that relapse has to happen to you. By making smart choices, following your aftercare plan and knowing when to seek out drug rehab in Arizona, you can protect your recovery.

Let’s learn more about why the holidays are a prime time for people to relapse and how to protect your recovery.

Holiday Triggers that Can Lead to Alcohol Abuse

Did you know that Americans drink twice as much during the holidays? A study of 2,000 Americans revealed that the average adult consumes four drinks a week. During the holidays, this number increases to eight drinks a week. The survey also found that the amount of alcohol Americans consume correlates with how often they go out.

Additional triggers that can cause people to drink more during the holidays are:

  • Traveling. Many people travel over the holidays to spend time with loved ones. However, the stress of traveling and staying in a home other than your own is often more stressful than relaxing.
  • Complex family issues. The holidays bring families together – but not always for the better. Those dealing with triggering family dynamics are more likely to drink to cope with their emotions.
  • Holiday parties and events. Alcohol is a staple at many holiday parties and gatherings. In fact, getting drunk is often encouraged. The more holiday parties you attend, the more likely you are to drink.
  • Unrealistic expectations. People are prone to developing high expectations for how the holidays should look and feel. However, when it doesn’t happen this way, they end up feeling disappointed.
  • Holiday spending. Between buying gifts, hosting events and participating in grab bags, holiday spending can cause a great deal of angst.

Are You at Risk for Relapse this Holiday Season?

Even if you don’t feel at risk, it’s important to safeguard your sobriety this time of year. Your treatment center in Arizona, will recommend working closely with your treatment team and sponsor to identify your triggers and healthy ways to manage them.

Some of the best ways to protect your sobriety and prevent relapse are by:

  • Attending regular recovery meetings
  • Maintaining your normal routine
  • Practicing proper self-care
  • Avoiding stressors when possible
  • Picking holiday events wisely

If you find yourself fantasizing about drugs or alcohol, reminiscing about previous holidays where you were drunk or high or rationalizing with yourself to have just one drink, you are at a higher risk for relapse. Talk to a trusted individual who can help you avoid relapse.

What Happens if You Do Relapse?

If you do end up relapsing, know that it’s not the end of the road. As long as you admit your relapse and get help immediately, you can get back on track. Relapse does not mean failure. Instead, it means that you need more time to heal, and some things need to change. Try to understand what led to your relapse and what you can change in the future.

Wolf Creek Recovery Center is here for you during the holidays and beyond. With our Extended Care Program, we can help you stay on track and prioritize your recovery despite the temptations around you.