Relapse Triggers and the Holiday Season

December 13, 2018


While the movies portray the holiday season as a festive time full of happiness and love, the reality for many is that the weight of anxiety, sadness, and depression can take hold and lead to relapses in substance use disorder during this time period. Some factors that can contribute to holiday relapses include finances (or lack thereof), family problems, or even the realization that there is nobody in your life to celebrate with.

Here at Victory Recovery Partners, we know all too well about what can happen when the holidays are not-so-happy and how certain circumstances can affect those who suffer from substance dependency, as well as their families.

Relapse Triggers

During this time of year, individuals battling substance use disorder face what are known as relapse triggers. The most common triggers can be broken out into a few categories:

  • Emotional: During the holiday season, recovering patients sometimes feel the need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to help numb their emotions.
  • Environmental: Social situations such as work holiday parties or gatherings with family and friends tend to be accompanied by alcohol or other stimulants.
  • Mental/Physical: Not limited to the holiday season, many recovering patients find themselves visiting a doctor, whether it be for psychological or physical reasons. The additional stress on your mind and body can bring about a relapse. (Always remember to share your history of substance use disorder with your doctor and insist on non-addictive prescription drug alternatives.)

Getting Through the Holiday Season

While we hope that your holidays are filled with positive experiences, we understand the reality of relapse triggers. It’s important that you know that Victory Recovery Partners is here to offer you additional support and counseling. Just call us, book an appointment online, or come see us.

In the meantime, here are some tips for getting through the season and maintaining your recovery:

  • Always acknowledge and discuss your feelings.
  • Create new, sober holiday traditions.
  • Have realistic expectations – things don’t have to be perfect.
  • Make a daily gratitude list.
  • Practice healthy habits to avoid HALT situations (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired).
  • Practice self-care and take some extra time for yourself.
  • Regularly reach out to your support system.
  • Remember – it’s OK to say no.
  • Spend most of your time with people who support your recovery.
  • Stick to a budget.
  • Take things one day at a time.
  • Remember that a craving will pass.

Substance use disorder has no rules. It doesn’t play favorites and it has the potential to afflict those you would least expect. If you or someone you love is struggling with their recovery this holiday season, Victory Recovery Partners is here to help. Our experienced staff is trained in addiction medicine, as well as emergency medicine. We’re here to provide you with the convenient, high-quality medical care you need and deserve. Visit our website or call us today at 631-696-HELP (4357).