By Samantha Johnson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 23, 2023.
The Canadian Centre For Addictions has released a guide for those in recovery to assist them during the Holiday Season.
The risk of relapse increases during the holidays, with the week between Christmas and New Year’s particularly challenging. CCFA saw a 21.78 per cent increase in admissions in January 2023 compared to the previous month. Over the past six years, there has been an average 6.4 per cent increase in calls in January compared to December along with a 14.4 per cent higher number of serious calls reporting incidents occurring during holiday celebrations.
Counsellors at CCFA created the guide to offer practical tips to prevent relapse and has information both for the person struggling and family or friends.
Nine strategies are included in the guide, which include making a list of triggers and formulating a plan on how to cope with them ahead of time, staying connected to trusted recovery support groups, avoid people who aren’t healthy to your recovery and have someone you trust accompany you to gatherings.
Family members are advised to not become hyper-vigilant, attend support meetings with your loved one, manage your expectations, get ready to have tough conversations, set clear boundaries and maintain normalcy.
“My sponsor encouraged me to make a list of all the AA meetings that we’re taking place during the holidays, and I remember one that I attended when I was pretty early in sobriety, and it was very impactful”, says Steve Butler, primary addiction counsellor at CCFA, who has also dealt with addiction, adding, “It was with the members of the group and their family members. When the family members got up and gave their little piece about how they feel this Christmas with their loved one in sobriety, that made a huge difference to me.”
Alberta Health Services has a 24/7 Mental Health Helpline available toll free at 1-877-303-2642, or call the Alberta Addictions Helpline at 1-866-332-2322, alternatively 211 can be called in Alberta to talk to an information and referral specialist about finding the right local community and social services available.
The CCFA guide can be found at https://canadiancentreforaddictions.org/getting-through-the-holiday-season-as-a-recovering-addict/.