Coronavirus, Holidays, and Recovery
There is no question about it, this holiday season is going to look quite different than any holiday season we have ever experienced beforehand. By this point, most of us are growing accustomed to nationwide COVID-related restrictions and constantly changing guidelines. We have gotten used to wearing masks in public places, maintaining social distance, and washing our hands for at least a minute after touching… well, anything. As the holiday season rolls around, the standard ugly sweater parties and gift exchanges will probably be forfeited for virtual Christmas parties and telephone calls with loved ones. Many of us are going to avoid traveling, riding out the holidays alone in our homes as we do what we can to maintain our sanity. The good news is, this eliminates many of the potential relapse triggers that often go hand-in-hand with this time of year.
Common Holiday Relapse Triggers
Some common holiday-related relapse triggers include:
- Financial stressors. During this time of year, not only do our hours at work typically get cut as we are forced to take increased vacation time, but we often feel obligated to purchase the perfect presents for our loved ones, participate in a range of holiday-themed potlucks, and just generally spend more money than we are used to. Because social gatherings are still frowned upon, we don’t have to worry as much about attending holiday parties, potlucks, or gift exchanges – how’s that for a silver lining?
- Family-related stress. While most of us love our families dearly and look forward to traveling home over the holidays, that does not mean that our family units are not harshly dysfunctional. Being around immediate and extended family for any prolonged period can prove to be exceptionally stressful, and can serve as a relapse trigger if we do not know how to handle this stress. In light of COVID-related travel restrictions, it will be easier than ever before to wiggle our way out of spending extended time with our families of origin.
- Pressures associated with perfectionism. During this time of year, many of us feel the need to be perfect in everything that we do. We feel obligated to purchase the perfect presents for those we love, pressured to host the perfect dinner party, and pressured to attend any social event that we are invited to. COVID-related restrictions might alleviate some of these social pressures, allowing us the opportunity to make an unarguable case for staying home and avoiding people altogether.
While the relapse triggers that tend to go hand-in-hand with the holiday season might be reduced this year, there are still quite a few new and unique circumstances that men and women who are in addiction recovery will have to grapple with. They might feel an increased sense of social isolation and loneliness, they might be jarred by a disrupted routine, seeing as they are no longer allowed to attend in-person Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and they might feel increased levels of stress and anxiety if they do decide to travel home. This begs the question, “Do COVID-19 and the holidays increase addiction?”
The answer unfortunately is…yes.
How to Effectively Combat Stress in Recovery
There is already ample evidence pointing to the fact that the global pandemic has led to increased rates of substance use and abuse throughout the country. If you have been suffering at the hands of a substance abuse disorder that has been increasing in severity as the pandemic continues, it is important to reach out for help as quickly as possible. The holiday season is likely to bring about an entirely new set of stressors – stressors that can exacerbate substance abuse and lead to a rapid decline if treatment is not sought.
Agape Treatment Center – Open During COVID-19
At Agape Treatment Center, we understand that providing quality addiction treatment services is essential, and because of this we are dedicated to staying open through the COVID-19 pandemic. we have increased safety measures in place, and we are completely dedicated to ensuring the safety and health of every one of our clients. For more information on our guidelines and restrictions, and to learn more about how we are protecting our clients and our staff members, please feel free to reach out to us today. if you have been suffering at the hands of substance abuse or dependence disorder, there is truly no time to wait – and there is no better gift to give yourself or your loved ones than the gift of sobriety.