6 Tips To Prevent Relapse During the Holidays

Published: Oct. 22, 2023

Despite Making Progress, You May Be Wondering If You Can Maintain It

If you’re taking advantage of substance use counseling, you’re likely also taking on each day with a renewed sense of self-worth and well-being. You probably have a positive mindset and want to keep moving forward to make each day the best it can be. Despite such progress, you might be wondering if the coping skills you’ve acquired will get you through the holiday season alcohol- and substance-free.

Relapse Worries

Even though holiday stressors can quickly pile up, you can keep temptation at bay by being aware of triggers that can send you back into the world of addiction. Triggers can cause strong emotional memories related to taking the substance, which can seem appealing and euphoric. The goal is to minimize or, ideally, avoid triggers.

Enjoy the Holidays and Avoid Relapse

Although relapse triggers differ from one person to another, social events are a common trigger for many people recovering from substance use.

When attending a gathering where alcohol or substances are present, being prepared will allow you to enjoy the event without sabotaging recovery efforts.

Here are six tips to keep in mind:

  1. Identify triggers you may encounter at gatherings. This could include consciously limiting social time with a friend who may influence your behavior.
  2. Have an exit strategy for each holiday event. Don’t depend on someone else for transportation. Be ready to leave on your own before anything happens that might set you back.
  3. Attend recovery support groups before and/or after gatherings. Reinforce your conviction to stay sober with the help of a support group.
  4. Don’t allow someone else to get a beverage for you. Order your own beverages, or even bring your own, so you know it doesn’t contain alcohol.
  5. Don’t isolate yourself. Make a plan to spend time with those who are supportive of your recovery and will provide encouragement.
  6. Believe in yourself. You’ve worked hard to make progress. Trust and believe in yourself to stay on the right path to recovery. Say to yourself, “I can do this.”

If Relapse Occurs

If a relapse occurs, it doesn’t mean your counseling was unsuccessful. The recovery process is a journey, and therapy may need to be adjusted or reinstated.

Get Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing an alcohol- or substance-use disorder, or needs help to avoid a relapse, it’s crucial to get support and meet with a Best Care EAP licensed counselor. To get started, complete our Counseling Registration Form. If you have issue with the form, please call Best Care EAP at (402) 354-8000 or (800) 801-4182 and we'll be glad to help. For additional information on mental health and well-being topics, visit our Resource Hub.