Thanksgiving Triggers and Triumphs
Sometimes, the holiday season can bring unexpected stress and anxiety for those who are in recovery from substance or alcohol use disorder. Finances, family reunions or loneliness can lead to a variety of feelings, some which may amp up cravings and urges. Even if you have the best intentions during your recovery journey, holidays can sometimes make staying on a straight path more difficult. Whether it be family feuds, exposure to alcohol at the table, or overwhelmingly personal questions, this season is tough for many. Fortunately, relapse is avoidable and there are many steps you can take to ensure your health and happiness remains intact.
It is important that you are aware of your potential triggers so that you can navigate through changes with confidence and minimize your risk of relapse. Some examples of common holiday triggers include:
-Parties (social anxiety and alcohol exposure)
-Changes in routine
-SAD or depression
Now that we’ve covered some potential triggers, let’s look at some ways to stay strong and healthy during the holiday season.
Make a budget: to avoid feelings of shame or stress, try not to overspend. Creating a budget can help you limit negative feelings and thoughts that contribute to increasing your risk of relapse. Even if this means buying fewer gifts or limiting events you attend, your health should be a priority and the best gift you can give to loved ones is a happy you!
Have a plan in place: it is important to have a plan in place just in case things get out of control to minimize damage. A relapse plan can include calling a friend, removing all triggers, telling your therapist, and finding the underlying cause. A relapse does not mean you failed; however, it is important to get back on track as soon as possible.