Florida drug and alcohol rehab centers know how challenging the holidays can be for a recovering addict. It never hurts to have a plan. It could prevent your hard work from coming undone.

According to a Healthline survey, 18.42 percent of respondents said the holidays are “very stressful.” Another 43.95 percent said they are “somewhat stressful.” Stress is linked to the likelihood of relapse.

Although you learn effective coping mechanisms in treatment, this time of year is special. Researchers in a 2008 Yale University School of Medicine showed that people in stressful situations are less likely to respond to usual methods for avoiding drugs and alcohol. Devise alternative ways to cope now, and you will be more likely to remain sober throughout the season.

#1: Develop a Smart Exit Strategy for Gatherings and Parties

Sometimes, the best way to handle a negative situation is to leave. If the party is too much, you are too stressed out, and drug or alcohol cravings hit too hard, the door is only a few steps away.

Here are some tips for making a graceful exit:

  • Park your vehicle where it will not be blocked.
  • If you do not drive, make arrangements for a ride or public transportation.
  • Be direct and do not make excuses for leaving.
  • Decompress and de-stress as soon as you get home.

Do not worry about the party falling apart if you leave. Psychology Today says that is probably not true, no matter what the host and partygoers say.

#2: Call a Sober Friend if Cravings Become Difficult

What if there is no way to leave a party? If you have traveled to another town or state, you might not have the option of driving home. You could feel stranded, compounding your stress and increasing the likelihood of relapse. That is when you need a reliable friend on-call to help.

Even if your plans include nothing more than staying home, calling a friend can help you work through feelings of isolation and depression if they creep in.

Whether it is a 12-step program sponsor or a sober friend, arrange in advance to call if your situation feels overwhelming. A few words of encouragement or an hour-long talk could be the difference between staying sober or suffering a relapse.

#3: Bring a Sober Friend to Events

Recovery can feel isolating, whether you are alone or in a crowded room. You need a good friend who understands. Maybe you will spend time during the holidays with people your addiction has hurt in the past. Maybe your friends and family cannot relate to addiction at all, so they do not know how to help.

If the event is local or you have a friend willing to travel, a sober buddy could be your lifeline. You will have someone who understands and can help keep your feet on the ground.

#4: Stay on Track With Your Health

Whatever you do now to stay in recovery, stick with it through the holidays. You might even think about ramping up your efforts.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Attend meetings.
  • Get together with sober friends.
  • Plan healthy meals and snacks.
  • Go for walks.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Practice meditation.
  • Keep a journal.

During the holiday season, stress levels can spike, family relationships might feel strained, and your ability to resist the temptation of alcohol or drugs could falter. That is true, whether you have been in recovery for years or you are just getting started. A solid plan and a good friend can help get you through it.

Florida drug and alcohol rehab can help you get sober. Healthy, positive changes help you stay sober in any situation. If you need help, contact us and learn about detox and the many treatment options available.

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.