Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Eight Stages of (Holiday) Relapse

This month time we’ll hear a lot of good information about taking care of ourselves at holiday events: office parties, family gatherings, spontaneous get togethers with Friends. We are warned to watch out for the spiked eggnog and the fruitcake with brandy and the fancy Bourbon cookies.

If our addiction is food we’ll be on super alert for sugary snacks offered at every stop along our way.

But it’s not just the drinks or treats we have to worry about, and it turns out, it’s not just the newcomers who have to worry.

The greater triggers toward a slip or a relapse are more likely to be our thoughts and our moods. So what should we be watching out for that is inside of us?

I recently heard another recovery coach talking about relapse: How it begins and what to watch out for. His list of the eight stages can work as a daily or weekly checklist. And it’s a perfect holiday inventory getting us to the New Year:

Here are the Eight Stages of Relapse:

1.  Beginnings of secret dissatisfaction.

2.  Boredom or frustration at work or at home.

3.  Relationships change.

4.  Return of denial.

5.  Emotional drift—(away from our program, or friends, or sponsor, or supports.)

6.  Anger and Resentment.

7.  Depression and Dishonesty.

8.  Then—picking up the substance:Relapse.

Share this list with your recovery friends and agree to use this as a check list throughout the holidays.

I write more about relapse in my book, “Out of the Woods—A Guide to Long-term Recovery” published by Central Recovery Press. Think about a copy of “Out of the Woods” as a holiday gift for your recovering friends.

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