Holidays & Relapse

Written By:

Melissa Pena

When I think about the holidays, I think of stressful situations with family, other people, or money. Last year, I thought I had it made; I had just made it three years sober from my drug of choice. First, I became complacent in my recovery, hanging with unhealthy people, and pushing God out of the picture.

I have learned through the years that the holidays are tough on everyone. Next, I might ask if you have a relapse prevention plan, just in case. Having relapse prevention in place could help you from relapsing. I did not have a plan in place, and I relapsed. Here are a few ideas that have helped me this year.

Relapse has three different stages. Relapse begins with emotional, mental, and physical relapses.  Each stage is different, and if we could recognize these stages, we might be able to prevent relapse before it happens. In a mental relapse, a person begins to think about using. This happens because we might choose to hang out with unhealthy people or deal with stress. Other areas can cause a mental relapse. In the next phase, the mental relapse, we begin to be at war with ourselves. Me, I remember thinking back on all the good times. I even thought about how I could quickly lose weight and stop again. In the last stage, we have a physical relapse. By now, we are using drugs or alcohol. Hopefully, we will realize what has happened and stop using it again. We get back on the road to recovery.

Here are some tools to help you set up relapse prevention. Many of us might think we can handle things alone; I’m afraid that’s not right. We must be okay with asking for help. We must take care of ourselves; it is okay to be selfish. Find self-care that will work for you. I like taking a walk, especially with a friend in recovery. Another thing that I began to do was write out a list of people I could reach out to. This meant seeing the list, and when I struggled, I started at the top of the list and worked my way down until someone answered. This has come to work a lot in my recovery. Another thing I did was found me a sponsor that worked for me. Lastly, I started spending time with God. I will pray, read the bible, and listen to worship music. There is something about worship music that makes you feel better.