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The fall and winter seasons can be full of holiday parties, more family gatherings, and more opportunities for stress or loneliness. For these, and many other reasons, the holiday season can be especially challenging for an addict in recovery and may cause a sobriety relapse. What is considered relapse? A sobriety relapse is when an addict, after a period of sobriety, returns to using drugs or alcohol (even just once). It may feel disappointing, but it is no reason to give up on long-term sobriety. In fact, at Lighthouse Recovery, we offer a comprehensive suite of addiction treatment services like an Intensive Outpatient Program, Sober Living Program, and Recovery Coaching, with the goal to dramatically increase long-term results and prevent future relapse.

Here’s how to move forward after a holiday slip up:

  • Recognize the sobriety relapse

Any slip up in your recovery journey needs to be addressed directly, and not swept under the rug. The only way to truly move forward and ensure it doesn’t happen again is to openly acknowledge the misstep to yourself.

  • Tell someone – like a Recovery Coach

Whether your sobriety relapse happens while you’re currently in addiction treatment like our Sober Living Homes or Intensive Outpatient Program, or if it happens after you graduate, it’s vital to tell an experienced substance abuse expert. If you’re in one of our Sober Living Homes in Dallas, you can tell the house manager. For those in IOP, tell your therapist or Recovery Coach. And, if you’ve graduated from one of those programs, you can call us anytime and we’ll connect you with a Recovery Coach and someone to walk alongside your relapse recovery.

  • Review how the sobriety relapse happened

With your therapist or recovery team, you’ll want to review how the sobriety relapse happened. Certainly, around the holidays there are more temptations and opportunities to return to consuming drugs or alcohol. Or, sometimes the stress and / or loneliness of the holiday season makes someone want to escape. Going through the exact situation of when your relapse happened will allow you to uncover the underlying cause, and start to work to identify future situations that might similarly trigger or push you to relapse.

  • Make a plan for future triggers

With your therapy team, after figuring out the underlying causes of your relapse, you’ll want to make a plan to conquer that trigger when presented with it in the future. No two situations are exactly alike, but with behavioral therapy and practice, you will be able to find healthy coping mechanisms that don’t lead you to consume drugs or alcohol in the future.

  • Continue with treatment

Even if you feel you’ve properly addressed the underlying triggers, the relapse is part of your recovery journey and an indication no journey is ever 100% complete. Depending on your therapist’s advice, you might want to consider re-admitting into our Sober Living Homes or Intensive Outpatient Program. A lesser intensive option to stay accountable would be through Recovery Coaching. 

For many addicts, relapse is an expected part of the recovery journey and doesn’t have to be negative if you don’t allow it to derail your entire progress to sobriety.  Sometimes, relapse is the extra motivation to underscore how deep and complex your addiction truly is, and provides the momentum to dive deeper into therapy and recovery. If you’re looking for an addiction treatment center that focuses on long-term sobriety and evidence-based practices, give our team at Lighthouse Recovery a call today: 214-978-6680.


Learn more about our services or contact us below to discover how Lighthouse can help you on your road to recovery today. Thank you for your trust.