Holidays Can Be Full Of Relapse Triggers

Patient Support

Holiday weekends, for many, are a time of celebration, relaxation and enjoying the company of others. But with parties, festivals and friendly get-togethers, they can also be challenging for those battling substance use disorder (SUD). Preparation to handle holiday addiction relapse triggers is key to enjoying holiday weekends (and life) without putting your sobriety at risk.

Recognizing Holiday Weekend Addiction Triggers

A saying many are familiar with, “the first step is recognizing you have a problem” carries over into recognizing the triggers that can cause a problem, too. The first step in avoiding or dealing with holiday weekend addiction triggers is recognizing them.

Every individual is different – and the most effective technique for preventing addiction relapse is identifying your own personal triggers and high-risk situations. That being said, there are a few common relapse triggers that may be present during holiday weekend celebrations for which you can prepare ahead of time.

Common Holiday Relapse Triggers

  1. Social Isolation – many people who are in recovery feel as though they can’t attend celebrations due to their addiction. However, this can become a high-risk situation when loneliness occurs. Finding options that still make you feel supported and loved while remaining comfortable in your sobriety is a great option. If you don’t feel comfortable attending celebrations, call a friend or make alternative plans.
  2. Emotional Situations – with holidays, there are often some difficult emotions that can come up. While it’s impossible to avoid feeling sadness, anger or guilt, through treatment you learn to cope with your emotions through healthy avenues. This can be a powerful tool to leverage during holiday weekends.
  3. Stress – highly stressful situations can be triggers for many people because of the effects they have on one’s body and mind. Going into holiday weekends, be proactive about stress prevention and practice mindfulness to help manage stress.
  4. Mental State – if you’re feeling mentally or emotionally vulnerable, experiencing depression anxiety or other underlying mental illness, this can trigger relapse.
  5. Risky Situations – holiday weekends can present situations where drugs and alcohol are readily available. If you don’t feel comfortable in your sobriety attending events like these, look into hosting or attending another sober celebration.
  6. Reminiscing Past Use – glamorizing past use of drugs or alcohol minimizes the negative impacts that using had on your life and can trigger relapse.

Being aware of potential triggers – common triggers and your individual triggers – is important to being able to experience life while avoiding addiction relapse.

Dealing with Relapse Triggers

As with triggers, an individual’s capacity for dealing with triggers varies – even on a day-to-day basis. The key is to use what you learned in treatment to evaluate your capacity for handling your triggers each day, including holiday weekends, and implement your coping skills when needed.

If Relapse Occurs

Relapse happens – and it doesn’t discriminate. The risk is always there – no matter how well you prepare and work at sobriety. But the most important thing to remember is, that if relapse occurs – it is not a moral failing on your part. Relapse does not mean recovery is not possible – it just means that you need to act and reprioritize your sobriety in your life. If you have experienced relapse and are looking for more advanced addiction treatment care, contact us today to learn more about treatment at Wellbridge.

Our ultimate goal is to provide you with the tools and resources to help you live your life in the most responsible way and cope with triggering emotions and thoughts along the way.