Holiday seasons and the celebrations that come with them are difficult for people in recovery. Many things can happen to increase the risk of relapse. Addiction is considered a progressive-relapsing disease, and recovery from addiction is challenging to the most motivated of drug abuse individuals. Drug abuse is more prevelant this time of year and we are providing a tool to help you look for signs and symptoms that a relaps may be impending. It is adapted from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) tool addressing the Holidays
Review the list below and check the items that might cause problems for you and your recovery program during the holidays. Then total up the number of checkmarks and assess your relapse risk below:
- More alcohol and drugs at parties
Shortage of money because of travel or gift buying
More stress caused by hectic pace (for example, traffic, crowds)
Normal routine of life interrupted
Not going to AA or NA meetings
Not going to therapy
More contact with family
Increased emotions from holiday memories
Increased anxiety regarding triggers and craving
Frustration of not having time to meet responsibilities
Coping with “New Year’s Eve” type occasions
Extra free time with no structure
How did you do?
Mild: If you checked one to three items, the holidays produce only a slightly increased risk of relapse.
Moderate: If you checked four to six items, the holidays add a lot of stress to your life. Relapse risk is related to how well you cope with increased stress. Your score indicates that you need to plan carefully for your recovery during the holidays.
Severe: If you checked seven or more items, the holidays add a major amount of stress to your life. Relapse prevention means learning how to recognize added stress and taking extra care during dangerous periods. Your score indicates the holidays are one of these periods for you.
NO ONE HAS TO RELAPSE!