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The holidays can be tough for people struggling with substance use disorders. There are any number of potential triggers involved – an abundance of alcohol, financial strain, busy schedules and potentially strained relationships and shame. But with the right amount of mental and tactical preparation, you can survive and thrive this season.

The New England Recovery Center’s top tips for staying on top of your recovery are below.

  1. Be mindful of potential triggers: Holiday parties tend to be full of people drinking alcohol. If you are not at a point in your recovery where you’re confident being in that setting, stay home. A Yankee Swap isn’t worth a relapse. Many people in recovery are still repairing relationships with loved ones, and holidays that bring you together prematurely can be emotional – which can also trigger a relapse. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed, try leaving the room for a moment to meditate. Try your best to avoid high-stress situations, such as upsetting conversations.
  2. Have a script and strategy: Not everyone will know about your struggle with addiction and you may innocently be offered a beer. Have a response ready to decline the offer. If you’re uncomfortable sharing your story of addiction, keep it light and vague. “Thank you, but I brought my own drink. Hope you’re having a great time!” Additionally, having an exit strategy may come in handy. If things at the party start getting out of hand, don’t be shy about excusing yourself and heading home or to the company of someone who supports your recovery.
  3. Try hosting: When you attend a party hosted by someone else, you have little control over what’s being served, what activities occur, and who the other guests may be. Try hosting your own holiday party – complete with virgin beverages, friendly board games, movies, and friends and family who bring out the best version of you.

And if you are still in the throes of active addiction, don’t wait until the New Year to seek treatment. These triggers are even more harmful to those who haven’t yet acquired the skills necessary to face them without drugs or alcohol. We have beds available, and you and your loved ones will be thankful you came. Call us anytime at (844) 233-6372.

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