If you’re in recovery, especially early recovery, relapse prevention is one area that always deserves close attention. As you work toward freeing yourself from the bonds of a substance use disorder, there are bound to be a few challenges, which is certainly true of holidays.
This year, however, the challenge may be even larger as we’re more isolated from friends and family, which is why our team here at Tres Vistas Recovery pulled together the following tips. Under the experienced direction of Dr. Daniel Headrick, our goal is to help you weather the holiday season with your sobriety intact.
Among recovery circles, there’s an acronym that sums up some of the common reasons for relapse — HALT — which stands for:
These are situations that can chip away at your resolve so we urge you to take any steps you can to offset HALT. This means eating when you’re hungry, letting go of anger, reaching out for help, and getting enough sleep.
To further expand on the “L” in HALT (lonely), the holidays can be isolating times under normal circumstances, but this year many of us are keeping to ourselves to avoid spreading the virus.
Since isolation can be a trap for relapse, we urge you to take the steps necessary to stay connected. We know ZOOM calls aren’t the same as in-person gatherings, but they do help us maintain a lifeline to the world. Whether it’s a virtual get-together with the family or online support groups, it’s imperative that you don’t fall into feeling isolated and lonely.
These virtual events can also help you stay accountable and to show up for those whom you support and who support you.
Put gratitude first
No matter what circumstances you find yourself in over the holidays, try and focus on the positive. Even under the current circumstances, you can always find something to be grateful for, even if it’s simply the fact that the sun came out.
Focusing on what you don’t have rather than being grateful for what you do can lead yourself down some very dark roads.
If it helps, write down three things you’re grateful for every night before you go to bed during the holidays and if you’re starting to feel down, go back to that list.
Move a muscle
If you feel negative thought patterns beginning to come on, there’s an old adage that may help: Move a muscle, change a thought. There’s nothing like a little exercise to get unstuck from negative thinking so if you feel yourself spiraling down, grab your shoes and take a walk.
This last point is important. Our team is here to help and we’re happy to help you get through the holidays by putting a solid recovery plan in place. To get started, we invite you to contact us at our San Juan Capistrano, California, facility.