It is extremely difficult to stay away from opiates if you are craving them as a recovering addict. The stress of the holidays just makes these cravings worse especially if you are freshly out of rehab or still in outpatient treatment. Many people start using opiates as a form of self-medication. They use them to decrease stress, depression, and loneliness, three feelings that the holidays are known to cause. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent holiday opiate relapse.
1. Keep Busy
By keeping busy you can suppress the cravings. A few of the things that you can do to keep busy and keep away from opiates are:
- attend frequent parties and sober gatherings,
- stay away from those that you know are using and only go places where it is unlikely that you will be near them,
- take extra time with family and friends,
- decorate carefully and then once your house is done ask if any of your friends need help decorating,
- go for walks or drives to look at Christmas lights with friends and family, and
- stay around people that you know will encourage your sobriety.
There are many ways to keep busy during the holidays and it is a wonderful technique to reduce both cravings and stress.
2. Get Plenty of Rest
Although it should be a peaceful time, the holidays are rarely quiet. With friends and family members stopping by or staying over life can get pretty hectic. As you probably learned in rehab, too little rest and relaxation makes you more likely to relapse into your use of opiates. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, while you are in recovery you should try to maintain a healthy sleep wake cycle.
3. Do Not Be Afraid to Say No
If someone or something is stressing you to the point where you feel like you have to use opiates just to get through it take a step back. Do not be afraid to say no to a gathering, if thinking of going is already stressing you. Say a polite no thank you to invitations that you suspect will knock you off the path of recovery.
4. Stay Healthy
It might be tempting to over indulge in sweets, food, and snacks but do not be afraid to eat healthy during the holidays. Moderate you food intake and you will be happy you did. Not only will you feel healthier and more ready to take on the world without drugs, your body will be a lot happier after the holiday season is over.
5. Have Fun
Just because you are a recovering opiate addict does not mean you cannot have fun. Remember the holidays are supposed to be about fun and being with friends and family. Do all of the things that you used to enjoy before the opiates took over your life. Get into the Christmas and holiday spirit without using the drugs.
For more tips on staying away from opiates during the holidays, give us a call at 800-429-5210 (Who Answers?). We can help you with ideas as well as recovery options should you need them.