Thanksgiving and other holidays can be a trying time for people who are in recovery. If you are trying to stay sober, it can be a struggle to see everyone celebrating during this challenging period in your life. While holidays are supposed to be positive moments, they also pose various alcohol relapse triggers for people who are trying to quit alcohol and drugs. In fact, there have been studies showing that drug and alcohol relapse spike by 150% during the holidays.
While it is admittedly not an easy scenario, there are alternative ways to avoid falling trap from these triggers. Firstly, knowing what these triggers are early on can help you deal with them and have a plan of action on what to do. Hopefully, having these pieces of information can also help you have a more relaxed time during the holidays.
Here are seven common alcohol relapse triggers during holidays like Thanksgiving.
Access to alcohol
Having many different Thanksgiving dinners, holiday parties, office events, and celebrations also means people drinking and being merry. These gatherings make it easy for people in recovery to have access to alcohol. Sometimes, just seeing someone having a drink can be tempting for someone who is trying to quit.
What to do: If a party will take place in a club or a bar where drinking is the main focus, avoid attending if you can. If not, bring a sober buddy with you to keep you in check. If it is a Thanksgiving dinner, try hosting one yourself with other sober-minded people.
The holidays can be a very stressful time especially if you have to balance a full-time job, children, and other family obligations – on top of trying to stay sober. Having too much to do can be overwhelming and this can cause someone to just give up and have a drink.
What to do: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Learn how to delegate other tasks by asking help from family and friends. If you don’t have anyone to help, try to simplify your holiday plans to a level that you can manage.
Arguments amongst family members are normal during the holidays. It is not always the ideal Thanksgiving scenario; however, the reality is, these conflicts happen to many families especially after not seeing one another for an extended period of time. These arguments can cause stress and drive a person to drink.
What to do: Don’t engage in arguments and be a cause of conflicts. If other members of your family are arguing, physically remove yourself from the situation to avoid being involved in the drama.
Thanksgiving season is often associated with Black Friday sales and gift giving. If you are struggling to make ends meet because you’re short on cash, the pressure to fulfill these demands can be quite frustrating. Money problems become stressors which can result in relapse.
What to do: Keep in mind that in giving gifts, you don’t have to buy extravagant things. A simple token will do, or better yet, explore DIY options like baking cookies or making personalized items. If you don’t have a source of income, explore home-based job options like selling baked goods, online freelance jobs like writing or social media, or maybe becoming a virtual assistant.
Overindulging in food
When you overindulge in food during the holidays, this can sometimes become a trigger for relapse, especially if you ate too much of the unhealthy stuff. Overeating can lead to feeling lethargic and even depressed. These feelings can cause you to feel that you need an alcoholic drink.
What to do: Eat mindfully. Enjoy the food but do it in a way where you’re savoring every taste. This will help slow you down and could prevent you to overeat. Steer away from junk food which can cause sugar highs and crashes.
Unexpected situations such as suddenly losing your job or breaking up with your romantic partner are just examples of events that can trigger a relapse. When faced with an unexpected situation, it is normal to feel unsure of what to do. This can result in seeking that bottle to settle your thoughts and emotions.
What to do: While you have no control over these unexpected situations from happening, remember that you have 100% control on how to react to them. Don’t let these negative experiences bring you down further, instead, make them a motivation to get better and rise higher.
For people who do not have family members or away from their relatives, the holiday season can be tough. Being alone can be depressing and can cause people in recovery to drink to chase their blues away.
What to do: Look for sober Thanksgiving events that you can take part in within your community. You can also volunteer in a charity organization so you can spend your time positively around other people.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Morningside Recovery today.