Identifying Holiday Triggers

With people drinking and being merry, society demonstrates that holidays are the best times of the year. However, there are the stresses of buying the correct gifts for loved ones, cooking the perfect meals, and being around groups of people you may not care much for. Expectations from family, friends, and oneself are typically higher than other times in the year. With all of this undue stress, it is easy to forget all of the triggers that holidays provide us: songs, rituals, odors, and other sensory prompts; triggers which can lead to a relapse back into alcohol or drug addiction.

Bargaining Can Lead to a Relapse

Many individuals find themselves bargaining during the holidays. They may even think, “I can have just one drink with my family. It will not lead me to drink again tomorrow.” Another example of this is the thought, “I did not have a problem with alcohol before, only with opiates. Drinking today will not cause me to use opiates again. They aren’t the same.” Unfortunately, even if that substance was not the typical one that the person used, it is easy to fall back into old habits from the partaking in any potentially addictive substance. This can lead to uncontrolled use or drinking.

A vicious cycle can be created when a person realizes his or her slip-up. When you already have built up guilt and shame from your previous substance abuse, it is easy enough to falsely believe that you are a failure. A lapse or relapse may emphasize this untrue perception about yourself. Feelings of being overwhelmed and powerless often are associated with these false thoughts. Without having a personalized healthy coping skill bank to fall back on, long-term goals fall to the wayside and the instant gratification that drugs and alcohol once provided become favored.

Recovery centers and 12 Step programs can help you gain personalized coping skills. Therapists can help you identify what is true and what is not true regarding the thoughts that you have about yourself. Over time, you can learn to challenge the incorrect and inaccurate thoughts. This will allow you to break free from the justification and bargaining your mind automatically encourages.

Where to Turn for Help

During active addiction, it is easy enough to make up an excuse to drink or use. Emotions running high during the holidays do nothing but help encourage these justifications. Contact our trained professionals at The Discovery Place in Burns, Tennessee today at 1-800-725-0922. We are standing by to help guide you in maintaining an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle. Finding ways to challenge your not-so-positive thoughts, automatic thinking, and cognitive distortions, such as, “I am a failure” is essential to coping with life’s stressors. We can help you learn how to be in the present moment, acknowledge cravings when they come along, and cope with these cravings in a healthy manner.

Our alternative treatment center encourages continuing care for substances such as alcohol, cannabis, and opioids. 12 Step meetings, sponsorship, and ongoing events and communication with Discovery Place are highly encouraged. You will create a continuing care plan before leaving our services. This is a wonderful resource to refer to if you are ever in a time of need.

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