There are few times of the year as stressful for the average person as the holiday season, and this can be even more pronounced for a recovering addict. As if struggling with the aftermath of substance abuse and the ever present threat of relapse wasn’t bad enough, the unique stressors of the holidays can make dealing with those issues even more difficult.

But coping with holiday stress in recovery doesn't have to bring you down if you know how to find strength and support during the festive season.

For recovering addicts, the most wonderful time of the year can often prove to be less than wonderful in its intensely stressful nature. Holiday shopping, seasonal work deadlines, family gatherings, all of these can create anxiety in a person who, already working to stay on the path of recovery, is already under a great deal of pressure.

Many addicts use substance abuse as a way to self-medicate for stress and anxiety and while a recovering addict may be working hard to avoid relapse, an increase in stress beyond usual levels can lead some to consider returning to their previous habits to handle the additional anxiety. With the holidays often proving particularly stressful, it can prove a field of festive landmines all primed to plunge a recovering addict right into the throes of relapse.

The holidays don’t have to lead to relapse, however, if you take the right actions to prepare and to deal with ongoing stress throughout the season.

The same coping techniques you use to resist cravings and avoid triggers the rest of the year remain important during the holiday season, but additional steps may be necessary to handle the elevated amount of holiday stress that can present itself.

You may need to plan for dealing with large gatherings, at which alcohol can be present in large amounts. Office parties, family dinners, and other holiday events can create a lot of stress for the recovering addict. You may need to pick and choose which events you attend and which ones you may have to pass up to maintain your mental equilibrium and avoid the level of holiday stress that could lead to unfortunate consequences.

Holiday shopping can be stressful, too, as you fight through crowds and deal with a short window of time to buy gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Try to defuse the situation by starting your shopping early and perhaps buying more online to avoid large crowds in busy stores.

At Good Landing Recovery, patients can learn a variety of coping techniques to deal with holiday stress and many other issues that could lead to relapse. With their treatment and counseling, you can better endure the various unique stressors of the festive season with confidence you can come out the other side without succumbing to cravings.

Holiday stress can be a serious problem for many people but it doesn’t have to ruin your season. With the right help and preparation, you can find the strength and support to cope with holiday stress in recovery and have a happy, happy holiday at last.