Relapse triggers can be people, environments, objects, or emotions that cause someone in recovery to experience alcohol or drug cravings. Generally, these cravings decrease in frequency and strength the longer someone is in recovery. If someone does not know who to deal with these addiction triggers, they could eventually relapse.
How to Cope with Relapse Triggers Over the Holidays
While our addiction treatment programs in Massachusetts are designed to teach people how to deal with drug triggers without relapsing, the holidays can be a challenging time for people in early recovery. With high-stress levels, busy schedules, and plenty of holiday parties, the holiday season can be filled with triggers that could lead to relapse. Instead of letting this time of year derail your recovery, these tips for dealing with triggers in recovery during the holidays could help you stay on track.
Know Your Triggers
Before you can learn how to deal with holiday relapse triggers, you need to know what your triggers are. Everyone is different so what causes you to experience drug cravings may be drastically different from someone else. Take the time to think about times you felt tempted to use again and what brought these drug cravings on. The better understanding you have of your addiction triggers, the easier it will be to avoid them.
During the holidays, you may be invited to a variety of events, but some of these festivities may involve relapse triggers. Instead of placing yourself in an uncomfortable situation and putting your sobriety at risk, it is okay to decline some of these invites.
Have a Plan
If you do decide to go to an event where you know there will be alcohol, drugs, or other relapse triggers, plan ahead. Bring a trusted friend with you, drive yourself so you can leave whenever, or plan to leave early. When you know you have options going into the event, it can help you feel less overwhelmed as well as more comfortable removing yourself from the situation if necessary.
Talk it Out
Coping with relapse triggers over the holidays is not something you need to do alone. If you are feeling tempted, there are plenty of people and resources you can turn to. Call a trusted friend, reach out to your sponsor, or if you feel on the verge of relapse, get into an intensive outpatient program. Talking to someone about your struggles can help you gain more perspective and feel more in control.
Practice Relapse Prevention
During treatment, you likely learned various techniques for relapse prevention. While you may be out of rehab, now is the time to put these tools into practice. At the first sign of temptation, take the time to collect yourself and run through these techniques. You will likely find that these cravings will pass.
At Vertava Health of Massachusetts, we understand that dealing with triggers in recovery during the holidays isn’t always easy, but you do not need to do this alone. Whether you are struggling to stay sober or need help taking the first step to recovery, ask for help. We want to be here for you.