The stockings are hung by the fireplace, people are scurrying through the stores, children are laughing and decorating cookies. It is seemingly the most wonderful time of the year – the holidays
Isn’t this the image of what the holidays look like in our heads, like something taken from a Norman Rockwell painting. The reality is that while the holidays are truly the most wonderful time for some, for others, it is a very stressful and overwhelming time.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with obligations of visiting family, helping with events, or the financial stress of getting everything that is on your holiday list. This is a familiar feeling for many, but for someone in recovery, this stress can be magnified and sometimes cause a relapse.
When it comes to opioid addiction, one of the biggest ways to help yourself is to avoid putting yourself in a stressful situation altogether, which can be hard to do when you have friends and family that are expecting you…
So, in this article, we will go over some ways to survive the holidays this year.
Tips to help you get through the holidays:
- Always have a plan
- Be sure to create a plan for the season.
- Set a budget and stick to it. Understand that you don’t have to get everything on someone’s gift list.
- Create a plan before attending events and family gatherings.
- Get rest and stay healthy
- Fatigue and irritability can be part of causing a relapse during the holidays or any time of the year. Try to avoid being hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT). When you are tired, it’s much easier to succumb to the temptations. Let’s face it, you get lazy and it’s easier to make excuses. Be sure to get enough rest and to eat healthy during the holiday.
- It’s OK to say No!
- Be selective about what invitations you accept. During the holidays, there can be a number of gatherings and it’s ok to say no to some events that may bring tension, anxiety or be with those where the temptation to use again may be higher. There’s nothing wrong with avoiding these situations.
- Set realistic expectations
- Just because you have taken steps to recovery and are clean, it’s important to understand that not everyone may see things exactly the way that you do. It may take years to earn back a person’s trust that was once broken by opioid addiction.
- Have a backup plan
- Come early, leave early and have a plan ready to do so. When you are ready to leave, whether you are uncomfortable or feeling pressure, then leave. Your time is your own and you owe it to no one.
- Surround yourself with others who will support you through recovery
- Be sure to attend meetings
- Talk over your triggers with someone you trust and figure out how to avoid them. It may mean giving up some old traditions, family or friends. Limit the amount of time you spend with those who are critical of you.
The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone but having a plan in place on how to handle overwhelming or uncomfortable situations will help you survive this hectic time of the year.
We’re here to help…
Whether treatment is for you, a family member or a friend, we are happy to speak with you about our outpatient drug treatment program, and how AOC can help patients with their opioid addiction recovery. Since 2007, AOC has helped thousands of patients on their path to recovery.