Maintaining Your Sobriety in the New Year
With the holiday season coming to an end and a New Year just beginning, this transitional period can be difficult—especially for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. The experts at Tranquil Shores are here to outline some ways that you can cope with this transitional period, continuing your journey toward recovery and wellness.
Common Causes for Relapsing After the Holidays
From buying gifts to hosting guests—we’ve all experienced a spike in stress around the holidays. While it’s harmless to experience elevated levels of stress from time to time, high levels of stress and the presence of other negative emotions can wreak havoc on your mental health. High amounts of stress is one of the leading factors when it comes to substance addiction relapses.
When you get stressed, your brain has a chemical response, releasing serotonin, adrenaline, and stress hormones into your body. When the brain is subjected to prolonged exposure to stress hormones, there is an increased risk of developing mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
With a multitude of holiday parties, dinners, and other festivities happening during the holiday season—it’s inevitable that many celebrations will involve drugs or alcohol. Though you may be committed to your sobriety journey, being around these temptations may prove to be difficult.
Often, people may feel overly confident in their ability to control their addictive behavior. Even just “one time” can result in a downward spiral, resulting in reverting back to previous detrimental habits.
This time of year often emphasizes spending time with friends, family, and loved ones. For those struggling with addiction, this can be especially difficult because they may have damaged relationships with those key people due to their addiction.
While we often think about how substance abuse and addiction affect the addicted person, it also negatively impacts the people who care about them. In a perfect world, the holidays would be a time for people to come together and move past previous issues. However, the time of year doesn’t diminish the harmful effects of addiction.
For the person struggling with addiction, this can intensify feelings of loneliness and can bring on other distressing emotions. Unfortunately, this can lead to turning to familiar coping mechanisms like using drugs and alcohol to rid themselves of these feelings instead of dealing with them head-on.
Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Though substance abuse may provide temporary solace when it comes to warding off negative thoughts and feelings, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Rather than temporarily numbing your emotions with mind-altering substances, there are healthier alternatives to help you cope.
Take a Long Walk
When you find yourself in overwhelming situations, it’s more than okay to excuse yourself and take a moment alone to regroup. Taking a walk can help to improve your mood, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and bring you back to the present moment. Whether you want to walk around the block or head to a local park, walking can help you feel more at ease.
Write it Out
Although keeping a diary or journal may feel like a childish activity, writing out your thoughts and feelings can prove to be a cathartic process. Writing down your feelings gives you the ability to express yourself without the fear of judgment, allowing you to work through things on your own. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or wanting to use again, take out your pen and paper.
Practice Mindfulness & Meditation
Meditation is another excellent way to bring yourself back to the present and quiet your racing thoughts. When you’re feeling particularly anxious, take some time to focus on your breath, focus on the present moment instead of your thoughts, and bring your attention to your body. The best thing about meditation is that it can be done pretty much anywhere.
Ask For Help When You Need It
If you find yourself struggling and leaning toward a relapse, know when it’s time to reach out for additional support. Whether you have a close friend, a family member, or a mentor that you can talk to—that’s what your support system is here for.
Seeking Help at Tranquil Shores
Whether you’re recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, Tranquil Shores can help you every step of the way toward wellness and recovery. Our experienced clinical team of addiction experts is dedicated to providing unique and personalized therapy to those looking for help with substance use disorders in Florida.