A lot of people look forward to Christmas and New Year’s Eve and Day all year around. People typically start counting down he days months beforehand and some real holiday die-hards start counting for next Christmas immediately after the calendar flips from one year to the next. But for addicts and their families, Christmas day and the entire holiday season can produce a lot of temptation and depression. This article is designed to provide some tips and strategies for staying sober and getting through the holidays without relapsing and using drugs. See also “10 Relapse Prevention Tips, Especially the First 90 Days of Recovery“.
Prayers and Good Thoughts for Grieving Mothers, Fathers, Family and Friends
Before we get into tips and strategies designed to help recovering addicts stay clean and sober for Christmas and New Year’s, I want to offer up prayers and good thoughts to mothers, fathers, family members and friends of men and women who have lost the battle and have been taken by their disease. Parents in particular often blame themselves because they think it’s their job and responsibility to protect their children – even when they’re adults. But parents, it’s not your fault.. See “Are Parents to Blame for Their Child’s Heroin Addiction?”
Nobody chooses to be an addict and even though feeding the disease is a choice, the compulsions and urges can be so strong that it feels practically impossible to stop using. It is possible to choose addiction help and treatment but taking the plunge into addiction treatment and recovery is a level 10 out of 10 difficulty. Thus despite the naysayers and critics, it’s not that simple to “Just Say No” to drugs if you are addicted to them. See “Addiction Vs. Using Drugs: Why Addicts Can’t Just Stop Using Drugs” to learn more.
Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers offer up their heart-felt condolences to family and friends who will have that empty chair at Christmas dinner, New Year’s Eve or Day and the Holidays.
Tips to Stay Clean and Sober Around the Holidays
The holidays are a time of celebration. Thus, recovering addicts often have a difficult time staying clean and sober. It’s suggested that more people relapse around the holidays. Research shows that more people relapse with alcohol around Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve than any other holiday. Studies also show a small spike in increased relapses around Christmas day as well. The study was performed by Mark Goldman and his colleagues and was published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors sough to track young adult drinking. Below we’ve provided 5 tips to help you stay clean and sober for the holidays.
1. Throw Your Own Holiday Parties
It may not be realistic to suggest that people avoid all holiday parties. After all, people should be free to celebrate and enjoy time with their friends and family during the Christmas season. However, since most holiday parties possess liquor, which may tempt recovering alcoholics to drink or recovering drug addicts to bring their own kind of party substance to partake in (even if it’s done so privately), a realistic solution may be to throw your own sober holiday party. Enjoying good times with friends with soda, cookies, cakes and other delicious foods is a nice time to relax and enjoy the holidays while remaining clean and sober.
2. Avoid Triggers (People, Places and Things that Produce Temptation to Use)
Knowing and avoiding triggers is very important in addiction treatment and recovery. Around the holidays, that may not always be easy since sometimes, certain family members or holiday related stress may be triggers themselves. If you can’t completely avoid these triggers, you can still minimize their impact by spending most of your time talking with people who are supportive and positive rather than those who stress you out and make you want to use drugs.
3. Reduce Stress As Much as Possible Around the Holidays
Christmas shopping, long lines, crowds, angry mobs at the mall, financial hardship can all produce major stress and make drinking or using drugs very appealing. After all, that’s how a recovering addict used to cope with stress right? But by avoiding the malls during busy times, shopping online, discount shopping or minimizing the quantity of gifts you buy can reduce stress on your wallet and person and make it just a little easier to cope with life without resorting to relapse.
4. Hold on Tight to Your Support System
Anyone and everyone in recovery should have a support system of individuals who both care about you and are strong in their recovery (or have never been addicted). If and when things get stressful, call, text or get together with at least one person you feel comfortable with and can rely on for support and encouragement.
5. Don’t isolate Yourself
Spend the holidays with good, supportive and encouraging people. This could be your significant other, a good friend, a family member, etc. In particular, spend time doing any of the stressful things above with someone who loves and supports you in your recovery. Doing everything alone makes life harder, could produce loneliness and make using alcohol or drugs more tempting. Getting together with supportive friends, family or loved ones makes everything just a little easier and less stressful, reducing the likelihood that you will relapse and use drugs.
Make sure you take the time to enjoy the holidays with loving and supportive people and take some time to do activities that help to reduce your stress load. Are you feeling stressed due to the holidays approaching? Share your story and garner support on our free heroin addiction and recovery discussion forum. Need help breaking the chains of addiction? Click here for addiction help. Also consult with our prescreened top addiction treatment centers.
Written and Published By,
William – Publisher and Founder of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™
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