It’s the holiday season, the smell of cookies is in the air and stores all over the country are playing their favorite Christmas tunes. But when you’re in recovery from opioid addiction, the holiday season can bring feelings of anxiety and stress instead of the usual cheer.

Between an influx of relatives and friends, increased family obligations and festivities that undoubtedly include alcohol and sugar, the holidays can be extremely overwhelming for those in addiction recovery. The last thing you want is to relapse, and you can fortunately avoid a fall back into opioid abuse with these 5 relapse prevention strategies.

5 Tips to Avoid Opioid Relapse During the Holiday Season

1. Have Support Systems Ready to Go

The holidays often have us reminiscing with loved ones and friends. This can unearth some behaviors or actions you’re not proud of. However, having a plan to deal with these emotions ahead of time can go a long way in reducing your risk for opioid relapse.

Be sure you have support group meetings you can attend – whether in person or virtually – to help you deal with any negative thought patterns or feelings. Having a support group to lean on can give a sense of reassurance and control over your recovery from opioids.

2. Prepare Yourself for Questions

During the holidays, you should expect your friends and family to ask questions about your recovery. While it’s often not most the comfortable topic to discuss, practicing for these conversations can remove much of the stress you may be feeling.

Opioid addiction is a very personal issue, and it can be intimidating to let other people know about your struggles. Start by talking with your addiction counselor or friends from addiction treatment about what you should say. Rehearsing your answers can take the edge off and give you more confidence.

3. Write Down Your Triggers

What types of situations or thoughts trigger cravings for opioids? You’ll want to know the answer to this question before joining any holiday festivities. Start by writing down the behaviors or situations that have triggered your opioid addiction in the past. For example, does drinking alcohol or seeing others drink increase your desire to use? Distance yourself from the alcohol at parties or only participate in holiday gatherings that don’t include alcohol.

4. Set Up an Escape Plan

Certain situations during the holiday season might be too much for you to handle. For example, family conflict during the holidays may increase your stress and make it harder for you to stay sober. One of the best relapse prevention tools at your disposal is having an escape plan. This could be as simple as scheduling a ride back home or having a private space you go can go to decompress. A strategic and effective escape plan can protect the sobriety you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

5. Distract Yourself

Staying busy is one of the best ways to keep your mind off opioids during the holidays. Ask your friends and family if there are small tasks you can help them out with to prep for holiday gatherings. You can also create a holiday schedule filled with safe and recovery-friendly activities. Start by setting aside some time each day to exercise. You can also add other parts of your regular recovery routine to your holiday schedule to help you stay grounded.

Achieve Lasting Recovery from Opioid Addiction at Fountain Hills Recovery

If you’re struggling with an opioid addiction or have recently relapsed, Fountain Hills Recovery is here to help you. Our premier addiction treatment center in Arizona can help you uncover the underlying causes behind your opioid addiction and develop relapse prevention strategies that will set you up for lasting sobriety.

Contact our admissions team today to see how we can help you break free from opioid addiction.