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Tips for Handling the Holidays with Addiction

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Maintaining addiction recovery during the holiday season is often challenging. Learn practical tips to maintain sobriety over the holidays at HealthyPlace

Tips for Handling the Holidays with Addiction

Beginning with Thanksgiving and extending to New Year’s Day, the holiday season can be rough. Stress spikes for many people, especially so for those dealing with addiction and recovery.

Many types of addictions are triggered during the holiday season. Festivities intensify cravings for alcohol, nicotine, and other substances. Behavioral addictions such as eating addiction and shopping addiction are aggravated, too.

You don’t have to avoid the whole season. These tips will let you enjoy yourself without succumbing to addiction triggers.

Tips for Handling Addictions During the Holidays

Know your “why.” Having a purpose for staying sober or resisting food or shopping will help you stay focused. Create visual representations, such as phrases or images, of your life goals, the reason you’re in recovery, and keep them handy wherever you go.

Know your “how.” You have your reasons for resisting triggers. Now you need a plan for how to do it.

  • Determine which holiday events are safe for you to attend, which ones you can attend with caution and time limits, and which ones are so triggering that you should opt out of.
  • Intentionally practice self-care so you can avoid the HALT triggers. It’s harder stay true to your “why” when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
  • Give yourself choices. Rather than thinking of what you can’t have or do, focus on what you can do. Take your own food or drinks with you to events.

Go to an outdoor shopping center after hours to see the festive decorations. Think about replacing or adding new experiences rather than having to eliminate what you used to enjoy.
Know your “why” and your “how,” your purpose and your plan, and you can enjoy the holiday season despite addiction.

Related Articles Dealing with Holidays and Addiction

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Today's Question: What triggers your addiction during the holidays and how do you handle it? We invited you to participate by sharing your thoughts, knowledge, and experiences on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.


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Last Updated: 22 November 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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