What If I Relapse During The Holidays?

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Although this holiday season may look different than we’re used to, December is undoubtedly upon us. While holidays can be joyous, the season can also be a minefield for those who are in recovery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 94 percent of people who were in recovery felt overwhelmingly or moderately stressed during the holidays. The holidays can bring on additional stress and anxiety due to overbooked schedules and high expectations. For those in recovery, the added stress can test your resiliency. 

This year’s pandemic has created higher stress levels than ever while also taking away resources and coping mechanisms that many people have depended on in the past. Losing these resources can put your sobriety in jeopardy. The holidays bring on extra stress and challenges that can even push you to the brink of relapse. Even though the pandemic has made it harder to cope in ways you’re used to, there are other resources that are still available to keep your recovery thriving. Let us provide you with some alternate resources for keeping your sobriety intact this holiday season.

Telehealth is a Leap Forward

Telehealth allows a person to receive treatment through the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies. You can gain access to medical care, providers, patient education, and health information services, all through virtual services. This type of resource has become especially vital during this year’s pandemic, as most people have been unable to attend one on one or group therapy sessions. Telehealth services can provide assistance through audio, text messaging, or video communication technologies such as FaceTime, Zoom, or other video conferencing software. Other telehealth options include mobile health apps that assist people with self-care practices, store and forward electronic transmissions, and remote patient monitoring, which has become especially beneficial for people struggling with their sobriety. 

An estimated 77% of Americans own a smartphone. You can use your phone to achieve better health outcomes by getting increased access to the care that you may need. Mobile apps such as mHealth can provide patients with access to clinicians who can help with medications or licensed therapists who can provide cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), all through your smartphone.

Scheduling Zoom Meetings

Due to the pandemic, you may not be able to meet with your sponsor or with your support groups in person. Add in the fact that the holidays wreak havoc for many schedules  – businesses closing to celebrate the holiday season, and people leaving the area to visit family and friends – it can be a challenge to meet with the people you depend upon to avoid relapse. Consider reaching out to peers from your 12-step program or your sponsor to gather everyone via a Zoom meeting. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), maintaining a connection with a reliable support system is the single best way to improve a person’s resiliency.

You can also attend Zoom meetings with your friends and family or even your mental health counselor. Our newfound access to video conferencing apps has proven to be extremely beneficial, as it gives us a way to gather online that allows us to keep those connections strong. Your support team is there to remind you of all the reasons you have to stay sober, no matter how much work it may take. Avoiding a relapse requires serious strength. Do not let loneliness or lack of access to your support groups be the reason you succumb to the dangers of relapse. 

Recognize Relapse Drift

Relapse doesn’t happen suddenly. You’ll experience a gradual transition before you relapse. This drift can be subtle, and dangerously easy to explain away. There is no finish line in recovery; you will always be working on your sobriety. It is therefore extremely important to keep your focus on the coping skills that make your sobriety a success. We know that recovery is not an easy process to go through. There will be moments where you find yourself worn down, or where you may fall back into old habits. To avoid relapse drift, you will need to do more than abstain from the behaviors that lead to relapse. Keep your focus on the activities and daily routines that actively support your recovery.

If you do relapse, give yourself grace. It is estimated that individuals who struggle with substance use disorders see relapse rates which range from 40-60% depending on the substance. No one wants to relapse, but the potential is always there. Relapsing should not be equated with failure. What’s important is that you reach out to your support systems to address the relapse head-on and get yourself back on track.

Recovery can feel like a never-ending battle. The holidays bring on extra stress and negative feelings that can be hard to avoid, which can increase your chances of relapse. Losing access to your 12-Step programs, friends and family members, or therapist can make it that much harder. Regardless of if the holidays have arrived, or if we are suffering from a pandemic, there are resources available to you as you walk the path of recovery. You don’t have to do it alone. Struggling with your sobriety or even relapsing during this holiday season is not something you need to suffer through in silence. Resources such as Telehealth have proven to be beneficial for so many people fighting the same fight. Relapse can happen to anyone. Whether you’re seeking new ways to stay on top of your sobriety during the holidays, or need a leg up due to the added stress of the season, we’re here for you during this difficult time. Call Everlast Recovery Centers at 866-DETOX-25 to learn more.

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