November 13, 2018

Triggers to Avoid During the Holidays

Know your triggers

A major part of a successful recovery process is knowing what your triggers are. During the holidays, it can be a time that they present themselves more often than not. It can also be time when new triggers can arise that you didn’t realize you had before. It’s important to sit down and make a list of all the triggers that you think may pop up, and come up with a plan for each of them. This will give you better confidence for handling the situation when it pops up, and you will be able to move past it successfully with your newly-honed coping skills.

Common holiday triggers

  • Traveling
  • Pressure to be a good host
  • Returning to a hometown or childhood areas
  • Spending a lot of money on presents
  • Attending holiday parties with old friends
  • The stress of seeing family that you haven’t seen in a while
  • Having to talk about your recovery with family and friends
  • The smell of certain food or drinks
  • The atmosphere of holiday parties
  • Holiday shopping with large crowds
  • Seeing people that you may have a fractured relationship with due to your past addiction
  • People drinking in front of you
  • People smoking in front of you
  • Alcohol and wine bottles on the dinner table, or free flowing throughout events

Have a plan

Now is the time to be ready for all the stress that the holidays can bring on before it is too late. It’s important to come up with a plan, especially if this holiday season is one of the first for you since you became sober. Being prepared will help you navigate conversations and different situations that you haven’t come into contact with yet. Addiction often times leaves fractured relationships in its wake, causing anger and resentment from loved ones. The holiday season is the perfect time to continue working to repair these relationships, but remember to put yourself and your sobriety first.

Take care of yourself

Don’t forget to take time to put yourself first. Make sure you get a lot of sleep, are eating as healthy as possible and exercising to keep a clear mind. Poor sleeping and eating habits are common around the holidays, but they can add an extra layer of irritability and agitation that may not have been there otherwise. Eliminate these extra stressors that poor sleeping and eating habits cause and make sure to take extra good care of yourself.
Exercising around the holidays can prove to be difficult, especially with a busy social calendar and preparing for gift exchanges. However, it’s important to make sure you spend some time to exercise and clear your head. It will get your endorphins going and put you in a better mood for the day.

Give yourself some rules

Make sure you are holding yourself particularly accountable this holiday season by giving yourself a few extra rules. This could mean not offering to be the designated driver for friends and family, so that you are able to leave events early if you are feeling overwhelmed or triggered. If a situation arises where someone is in need, you can offer to get them a taxi or Uber ride instead.

You can also decide what your commitment level should be. Don’t feel the need to RSVP yes to all events, just pick one or two to see how things might go. Additionally, you may feel the need to skip holiday events all together if they are too triggering. Do not feel bad or guilty about doing this. As your recovery process goes on, you may feel more comfortable to attend in the years to come and your loved ones will understand.

If holiday shopping with large crowds is too triggering, skip the mall and order your gifts for your loved ones from the internet. You can even have them shipped straight to their address if you are skipping events this year, so you can make sure they feel loved and you can feel part of the celebration.

Use your support system

The most important part of avoiding triggers during the holiday season is to use your support system. Bring a sober companion along with you to holiday events if you are able to. Make sure you are attending meetings, and even going to extra ones if you are feeling that you may be particularly overwhelmed this year. Be open and honest with your support system with how you are feeling – they have likely walked in your shoes and can give you valuable tips for dealing with the extra stress of the holidays.

About Cliffside Malibu

The holidays are the most joyous time of year, but can also be one of the most stressful with all the extra things to do and people to see. Extra triggers may arise and it’s important to know that you are not alone in dealing with them. We are here to help you every step of the way so that you can have a happy holiday season, and focus on spending time with the ones you love most.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com

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About Jaclyn Uloth