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Friday, December 14, 2018

Are You Prepared for Holiday Triggers?

holiday triggers
A big part of staying sober this holiday is learning how to recognize and avoid your triggers, or those people, places or things that could jeopardize your recovery.

Triggers are everywhere all of the time and the holidays are no exception. In fact, they may even present themselves more this season because of the extra stress and added pressure to attend social events and spend time with family. Especially if you’re in early recovery, this may also be a time when new triggers arise.

Here are a few common holiday triggers:
  • Returning to a hometown or childhood location 
  • Attending holiday parties or seeing old friends 
  • Stress over seeing family or friends that you haven’t seen in a while or with whom you have a fractured relationship due to your past addiction
  • Talking about your recovery with friends and family
  • Smelling certain food or drinks 
  • Holiday shopping with large crowds 
  • People drinking or smoking or using drugs in front of you 
  • Alcohol and wine bottles on the dinner table, or free flowing throughout events 
  • Loneliness, loss and shame 
  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Financial pressure
Smart, Sober Planning 
Like other times of the year, your number-one priority is to stay focused on your goal of lasting sobriety – and having a plan in place can help. Many addiction experts recommend making a list of triggers along with ways to cope with those triggers. For example, if a certain family member makes you want to use again, try to figure out how to either avoid that person or figure out what to say if an uncomfortable conversation arises. Or, if holiday shopping with large crowds is too triggering, skip the mall and shop for your loved ones online.

If this is your first holiday sober, you may even opt to skip holiday events all together and spend some quiet time with a trusted loved one, friend or recovery peer. Don’t feel bad or guilty; your loved ones who support you and your recovery will understand. Plus, as you progress in your recovery you’ll likely feel more comfortable attending these gatherings.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reminds people in recovery that practicing self-care is a priority no matter the season -- and with additional stress and temptation everywhere, it’s even more important to be mindful about eating and exercise habits. Go for a daily walk. Be sure to drink plenty of water and indulge in sweets and caffeine in moderation.

And make sure to lean on your support system. It’s important to know that you are not alone as you work to stay sober this season. Be open and honest about how you are feeling – many of your supports have likely walked in your shoes and can give you valuable advice for dealing with holidays triggers.

The Holidays at Complete Harmony
We are here to help you have a happy, sober holiday season! Contact us today to begin your recovery journey, heal relationships and begin building a sober social network. Call: 866-930-4673.

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