It can be difficult to stay sober during the Holiday season but an outpatient treatment program can assist you and help you stay on track during your recovery journey.
There are times throughout the year when the struggle to stay sober is much harder than other times. Birthday celebrations, weddings, and regular stressful days when nothing seems to go your way can all make it hard to avoid a relapse.
The holiday season, which lasts from Thanksgiving and into the New Year, puts all those other times to shame. It’s a solid month of invitations to parties with co-workers, friends, and family. And it’s not just the parties that make you want to relapse; the holidays are stressful in other ways, including gift-giving, memories of good times when you were using drugs or alcohol, and finding sober activities to help you celebrate the season.
When you add a global pandemic during the holidays, it can be even more challenging to stay sober.
It’s important to know that you are not alone in your struggle. One of the first steps to overcoming this struggle is recognizing you do not have to do this all by yourself. Help is available.
This is the perfect time to implement relapse prevention techniques, including joining a treatment program that provides convenient, personalized support.
Outpatient treatment programs, also known as IOP programs, do just that and can help you stay sober during the holidays.
What Is An Outpatient Treatment Program?
The simple definition of outpatient treatment is that it is not inpatient. You receive therapeutic services on a part-time basis while you continue to work and live as you usually do.
The more detailed definition breaks outpatient treatment into categories:
- Partial hospitalization
- Intensive outpatient
Within each of these, you can receive private, group, peer support, family, and alternative therapies.
During the holidays, an outpatient treatment program may be the best way to maintain sobriety because it gives you maximum support. Programs range from daily to weekly treatment plans, and they are individualized to meet your needs.
Below are just a few of the ways an outpatient treatment program can help you stay sober during the holidays.
1. Fills Your Time
During the holidays, being bored or having downtime allows your mind to drift towards bad habits that, in the past, helped you alleviate the uncomfortableness of being bored.
With outpatient treatment, you can fill your time with therapy commitments. If you have an obligation to attend a group or individual counseling session, your thoughts are likely to stay focused on meeting that commitment. This can help you stay accountable too.
2. Keeps You Accountable
No matter how far along you are in recovery, it would be best to be held accountable. This means you become responsible for your actions. It also means you must be prepared to answer for those actions. If you miss a meeting, you are willing to tell the truth about why you missed it. If you relapse, you must be truthful as to why.
To be accountable in recovery means you recognize and understand how every decision you make connects to a consequence and that you must take responsibility for the consequences of your choices. Plus, you can help others be accountable in their recovery with the mutual peer support found in an outpatient treatment program.
3. Peer Support
Have you ever met a person you felt connected to because you have similar life experiences? That’s the same kind of connections you can make in outpatient treatment. During the holidays, having peer support gives you emotional support, education in sharing knowledge, and the confidence needed to avoid relapse.
Peer support groups help you socialize without the pressure of drinking or using substances. You can also participate in alternative therapies that are fun and mentally and physically healthy.
4. Alternative Therapies
Yoga, meditation, working out, and massage are a few positive activities you can participate in through outpatient programs designed to help you stay sober during the holidays.
Exercise and relaxation techniques have been studied and found to provide many physical and mental benefits. The feel-good, pain-relieving chemicals, endorphins, are released during these activities, leading to a decrease in stress.
Stress can harm all parts of your body and can make you feel overwhelmed. Stress may be one reason you abused substances in the past, making it an even more important factor to manage. Find the alternative therapy that you enjoy and stick with it.
5. Improve Skills
Outpatient programs provide you with the education that can help you improve your knowledge about the disease of addiction. The more you can understand your addiction, the better chance you will avoid a relapse during the holidays.
You can also learn how to improve life skills that are important to long-term sobriety. Life skills include communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, anger management, and most importantly, self-care and compassion.
An outpatient treatment program can even help your family support your sobriety during the holidays.
6. Family Therapy
Family members can be a trigger for relapse. Even though they love you and may think they are doing the right thing, sometimes they aren’t.
One of the biggest problems for those with an addiction is an enabling family member. An enabler is someone who makes it possible for you to continue your addiction. They may give you money, rides, pay your cell phone bill, and may even supply your drugs.
It is these family members who need to learn how to avoid enabling you so you can achieve lifelong sobriety.
Getting your family healthy can help you get healthy. With outpatient treatment, your family can learn how to help you stay sober during the holidays.
Outpatient Treatment Program Bonuses
Because we are in a time when businesses can shut down and open up at the advice of the State, outpatient treatment programs are adapting so that you can receive continuous care. You can receive outpatient treatment services virtually.
Some programs allow you to attend both virtual and in-person programs. And because they offer evening outpatient treatment opportunities, you can customize your services to work around any potential barriers.
You can start by reaching out online or by calling for help today.