Happy New Year: 5 Proactive Relapse Prevention Ideas
The 2019 holiday season is coming to a close. You made it through the Christmas holiday with your sobriety intact, and that’s something to celebrate. Just one more holiday milestone to navigate: New Year’s.
New Year’s Eve 2019 is set to be one of the biggest parties of the year, especially since we’re on the verge of ushering in a new decade. That means, in order to celebrate the holiday and maintain your recovery, you have to set yourself up for success. And you do that by taking smart proactive steps and doing serious pre-planning.
New Year’s Eve and the Pressure to Drink Alcohol
Are friends bombarding you with invitations to their New Year’s Eve parties? Or are you noticing the exact opposite – that friends seem to feel uncomfortable inviting you to a New Year’s Eve party? Or maybe you’re feeling isolated because you don’t have the same group of friends now that you’re in recovery?
At this time of year, it seems like you’re either way too busy or you’re in isolation mode. It’s important to recognize that the holiday season tends to be more difficult than the rest of the year. (And that’s true for everyone, not just those of us in recovery.)
When it comes to New Year’s Eve, there are even more added pressures…and most of them center around drinking alcohol. Even if alcohol isn’t or hasn’t been your drug of choice, drinking can be the catalyst to a relapse.
Relapse prevention starts with a plan.
The Role of Therapy
As you go through therapy in treatment, you’re able to dive deep and uncover the issues that led to addiction in the first place. With that knowledge, it’s easier to identify your own personal triggers. And you can also develop the skills necessary to navigate those triggers and manage stressful situations that could potentially lead to relapse.
The ultimate goal is to obtain the tools and the confidence necessary to make healthier life choices.
5 Plans to Combat New Year’s Eve Triggers
Here’s a few ways to be proactive in planning a happy, healthy, and sober New Year’s celebration:
- Plan #1 – Stay committed to your own accountability. Be honest with yourself about situations you can and can’t safely handle. Keep in mind everything you’ve achieved and all the trust you’ve earned back now that you’re in recovery. Nothing’s worth losing all that.
- Plan #2 – If you go to a New Year’s Eve party where alcohol will be present, take a sober friend with you. It’s much easier to stay sober when you have a buddy by your side that shares the values of recovery.
- Plan #3 – Whether you anticipate feeling uncomfortable at the party or not, you need to have an exit strategy in place. It can be difficult to be sober at a bar or someone’s house where you’re interacting with intoxicated people. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own recovery. If stressful situations or triggers come up, don’t hesitate to leave in order to protect your sobriety.
- Plan #4 – One of the smartest things you can do is put buffers in place. And for New Year’s Eve parties, non-alcoholic beverages are an excellent buffer. Having a drink in your hand at the party gives the illusion that you’re “blending in with the crowd.” It also prevents people from coming up to you and asking why you aren’t drinking or offering to buy you a drink at the bar.
- Plan #5 – Don’t neglect or change your recovery routine. Go to support meetings as usual or plan to attend an additional meeting for the holiday. A lot of organizations in the area might host their own New Year’s Eve recovery support meetings – and some of them offer early and (very) late meeting hours. Structure and routine are essential in recovery…and that rings especially true for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
From all of us here at SaVida Health, we hope you and your loved ones have had a happy and healthy holiday season. May 2020 be your best year yet!