How To Get Through The Holidays Without Relapsing

Holidays are stressful, but relapse is avoidable. Learn how on bettysbattleground.com

October is coming to a close, which means the holidays are getting started. Soon, we will all be in the thick of it. For those of us in recovery from addiction and/or mental illness, the holidays can be notoriously difficult. It’s not just the fact that alcohol appears at many holiday gatherings. Holidays are also typically associated with family gathering and bonding, which can be a touchy subject for those of us with addiction or mental illness histories.

Mental illness is so heavily stigmatized in our society that if you have anything but the most well-educated, open-minded, and compassionate family members, you have probably experienced some share of stigmatizing from the people who are supposed to protect you. Even if your family is lovely, your own erratic behavior during an active addiction or symptomatic flare-up may cause you to feel shame and embarrassment, whether or not your family did anything to contribute to those feelings.

Relapse doesn’t just mean taking drugs or drinking alcohol. It can also mean relapsing into a dangerous depressive episode, mania, or other symptoms of your condition that were in remission. It would be impossible to specifically address every single potential holiday trigger for every single mental illness. Instead, I’ve put together a list of ways to avoid having a major breakdown during the holiday season. It doesn’t matter what holiday it is–this can even be applied during your birthday–any time when you have extra social, familial, financial, and emotional stressors burdening you is dangerous. Hopefully applying some of these tips can help.

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Sober After Trauma: 10 Simple Ways To Prevent Relapse When Triggered

The Trauma-Mama Guide To Staying Sober During Triggering Times-www.bettysbattleground.com

Life is hard.

PTSD is hard.

Staying sober is hard.

When you have PTSD, and an addiction history, and your life suddenly weaponizes against you, staying sober becomes a monumental feat.

Right now, my life is a landmine of triggers. I lost someone I considered a good friend, who I cared about and was unbelievably hurt to learn didn’t care so much about me. If you have been following my blog at all, you know that losing these long-time friends is a deep fear of mine. Then, I had to attend a Family Court Services interview in which I was asked to disclose the intimate details of my worst abuses to a stranger; I haven’t even disclosed a lot of this stuff to my therapist yet. And, that was only the first half of the interview. I have to go back next week. In a couple of days, I have to actually see my abuser. I’ll be in the safety of a court room with my big, BBJ trained husband by my side, but still…I have PTSD. It’s not cool.

Needless to say, it’s been a tough couple weeks.

Once upon a time, I would be high out of my mind right now and approaching an overdose.

But I’m not. I’m sober. And not by chance. I have worked really, really hard to have a clear head right now. So today I am going to share with you some of the tricks I have used to keep myself from relapsing despite being assaulted by triggers for two weeks straight.

I should tell you guys that I do not adopt the 12-step mentality, which commands that once you’ve had a problem with a substance, you can never get intoxicated again. I do smoke weed (I live in a state where it’s legal) and drink alcohol occasionally.  I am able to control myself, and I do my best not to use these things in a self-medicating context as that is a dangerous action which could lead me back into an addiction. I’m not smoking or drinking now, for example. But I just thought I should tell you, for the purposes of full disclosure, that every once in a while I’ll kick back and have a couple tokes or drinks after the kiddos have gone to bed.

That being said, these tools can help you stay sober in whatever form of sobriety you choose. They can help you stay 100% abstinent from all mind-altering chemicals (okay that’s a lie; oxygen is a mind-altering chemical and I can’t help you with that…but you know what I mean) or they can just help you avoid the substances that cause you problems. I respect whatever form of sobriety you have chosen for yourself. Recovery is hard. Judgment does not help (hear that Anonymous folks??)

Without further ado…

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