Many families enjoy alcoholic beverages as part of their gatherings during the holidays, but if you’re a recovering addict this can pose an enormous risk of relapse. Alcoholism is an associative disorder that that can make these types of events exceptionally awkward and difficult for people in recovery. This is because any environment, person, memory, conversation or anything else that an alcoholic might associate with their previous active alcoholism can cause severe associative cravings to drink. But while this might be a legitimate threat, holidays and quality time with loved ones is extremely important for the long-term health of any person in recovery. Therefore, understanding how to cope with these situations is essential in order to maintain sobriety while still being able to enjoy the company of family- even during times when others are consuming alcohol.
Alcoholics are in an especially delicate position during what for many people are already stressful holidays. Not everyone has good relationships with their families and this can result in a lot of anxiety and stress for the recovering alcoholic. Additionally, traveling- especially with children- can be extremely exhausting and money spent on gas, airfare, taxis and other travel related expenses can all add up to a lot of worry. This means that often a person is already in a high state of stress before they even arrive at the holiday location. Add family drama or old feuds to this equation and it’s easy to see why relapsing during the holidays is a serious threat.
The real trouble for most recovering alcoholics is that regardless of what the situation is there is often alcohol at family gatherings. This is not only true of the holidays, but also at social engagements such as weddings, funerals, birthday parties and so on. People tend to drink to celebrate, to mourn, simply to be social, to enjoy sporting events or for many other reasons. In most cases, few of these people think about the impact that the presence of alcohol might have on a person who is in recovery from alcoholism.
However, the fact of the matter is that people should be able to enjoy themselves- no one wants to walk on eggshells around a recovering alcoholic. Instead, people in recovery should follow these tips in order to help deal with the presence of alcohol during family events:
Create a Solid Plan: Holiday travel and events should be planned carefully. Having a good plan is essential to help avoid common problems and avoid potential disaster. Having a schedule as part of this plan is also critical to avoiding any opportunity for relapse to occur.
Create an Escape Plan: If things get to be too intense and there are too many impulses to drink, then it’s time to make an exit. You can excuse yourself from an event very easily simply by saying that you are not feeling well. Having a backup plan for what to do afterward is also vital to ensure that once you abort the holiday visit that you don’t find a drink somewhere nearby.
Stand up for Yourself: It’s okay to say no and it is also okay to let people know that you are in recovery. In fact, most people at family gatherings are probably aware that you’ve had a problem in the past and so should therefore be conscientious and not place you in an uncomfortable position. If they do you must refuse in the most tactful way possible.
Using these tips in combination with maintaining a regular established recovery program is a great way to achieve balance both on a daily basis and during the holidays.
If you need help for alcoholism or addiction, please visit our Florida Drug Rehab Centers now. Regardless of where you are or what time it is, we can help.
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