3 Common Addiction Triggers at the Holidays
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: December 13, 2020

For some, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. For people who struggle with addiction, though, this season is often filled with stress that can lead to relapse. Learning about these three common addiction triggers of the holiday season and how to address them can help you reduce your risk of relapse during the holidays and beyond.

Lakeview Health in Jacksonville, Florida, understands how stressful the holiday season is for people recovering from addiction. We want you to be aware of these three addiction triggers as well as the steps you can take to mitigate them.

We will break down each of these triggers and coping skills you can use to manage them below.

3 Common Addiction Triggers at the Holidays

1. Family Stress

Family dynamics can be hard on anyone during the holiday season. This is especially true if you have difficult relatives you would otherwise avoid. Don’t allow one person to rob you of the joy of the holiday season. 

More importantly, don’t allow that person to be the trigger that drives you to turn to your former escape routes. Do these things instead:

  • Enlist the help of a neutral relative to run interference on your behalf.
  • Explain beforehand that if things become too intense, you will leave.
  • Avoid the family drama altogether if you feel it will be too much for you to handle. You must be your best advocate.
  • Limit interactions to only supportive family members when possible.
  • If things get too intense, take a walk to cool off and clear your mind.
  • Family can be the greatest blessing in your life. It can also be one of the greatest holiday addiction triggers. Know yourself. Know your family. You’ve got this.

2. Schedule Disruptions Amidst Massive Holiday Chaos

If there is one thing the holidays kill consistently, it is a routine. You depend on your routine to maintain a sense of balance and normalcy in your life. Keeping your routine allows you to maintain control of your day, your mood, and the places your mind takes you.

When that routine is disrupted, it leaves you feeling out of sorts and, often, out of control. Feeling out of control can leave you tempted to turn to alcohol or drugs for relief.  Here’s what you can do:

  • Keep your schedule to the extent you are able to do so.
  • Carve out some time in your day for mindful meditation, breathing exercises, or other relaxing pursuits.
  • Make lists and mark off items in your day as you accomplish them (reinforcing a sense of control).
  • Prioritize events in your day according to what is most important for you to attend.
  • Turn down some invitations if the routine disruptions become too stressful for you. 

Above all else, allow yourself grace if something is left undone for the day. It is when you allow these things to fester that they become true addiction triggers.

3. Avoiding Loneliness and Depression

Perhaps the most difficult holiday addiction triggers are managing feelings of loneliness and depression during this time of year. Not everyone has a loving and supportive family to turn to. You may even feel as though you’ve broken relationships through the course of your addiction.

This season can be incredibly isolating. That alone can lead to relapse. Remember, though, that there are other types of family. These activities can help you get through the holidays with a sense of purpose and, perhaps, happiness.

  • Volunteer. You’ll be amazed by the number of people and organizations that need assistance during the holiday season – not to mention how good it feels to do good for others.
  • Embrace new hobbies and interests
  • Talk to your sponsor. Your sponsor likely understands what you’re going through better than anyone and can help talk you through your sadness.

Contact Lakeview Health Today for Support

Now that you have all the tools you need to identify these common addiction triggers and manage them, it’s time to get out there and enjoy what the holiday season has to offer. Lakeview Health is here to help if you need support to get through the holidays. Call us at [Direct] or complete our convenient online form today if you need help to resist any of these or other addiction triggers.