As we all know, the upcoming holidays are a high risk time for relapse for people who are recovering from addictions to sugar, alcohol, and other drugs and behaviors. Parties and family gatherings increase exposure to sugar and alcohol, and there might be pressure to “drink just one” or “I baked it just for you!” There is often too much to do, fatigue increases, and family-related emotional stress often surfaces. Here are a few principles to keep in mind to protect your abstinence.
1. Make an agreement with key family members ahead of time, to leave an event if you believe your sobriety to be in danger. Bringing separate cars could be useful.
2. Make sure you do not come to a holiday event hungry. Low blood sugar is probably the primary relapse trigger for all addictive behaviors. Eating protein before an event will make it much easier to say “no” to whatever substance you need to avoid. This helps for people with gluten intolerance and other food allergies as well.
3. Bring alternatives that you enjoy, so you are not at risk of feeling deprived.
4. Give yourself permission to simplify your holiday activities, and say “no” when needed.
5. Be aware that even as an adult, when you spend time around your parents, it is easy to revert to old, destructive family roles. Also, holiday time itself can trigger painful memories and feelings and can easily set you up for relapse. Having a safe person to share these things with can be very helpful. Utilizing therapeutic techniques such as EMDR or inner child work can help you work through these issues so that they don’t keep recurring.
6. Utilize your entire support system and maintain impeccable self-care.
Please feel free to contact us if we can be of support to. We wish you a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas.