A Free Relapse Prevention Toolkit for the Holidays, From Our House to YoursAnna Ciulla
Since it first aired December 8, more than 2,300 viewers have tuned in for the live conversation that Beach House Center for Recovery hosted on its Facebook page, and which featured timely tips for preventing holiday relapse.
As part of a free monthly series that Beach House offers as a service to our local and national community, Friday’s interactive discussion was led and moderated by our very own Micah Robbins, and was free and open to the public.
Those who tuned in got personalized, holiday-geared advice for managing addiction triggers from two experts in relapse prevention:
- The New York-based journalist, editor, and content strategist Helaina Hovitz, whose memoir, After 9/11: One Girl’s Journey Through Darkness to a New Beginning, has drawn praise from nationally acclaimed critics for its courageous and inspirational chronicle of Hovitz’ post-9/11 journey through PTSD and alcoholism
- And Beach House Spiritual Therapist Alan Cutler, who with 16 years in recovery himself, has a wealth of experience in preventing relapse
Tips and Tools for Preventing Relapse This Holiday Season
What follow are some handy relapse prevention tips and tools that emerged from their conversation to help you prepare for this holiday season:
- The “HHA” Method for Preventing Relapse – The acronym HHA stands for “Humility, Honesty and Accountability to your Higher Power and one other person,” according to Cutler, who said these three components are vital to effective relapse prevention. Cutler said he encourages his clients to practice the HHA method, having found it to be an instrumental part of his own success in recovery.
- Replacing nights out with fun daytime get-togethers – This is an iteration of a relapse prevention guideline that’s often heard in recovery: “avoiding people, places and things” associated with a past addiction. Hovitz said what helped her avoid relapse was eliminating those nights out and replacing them with fun events and get-togethers with friends during the day, such as meet-ups over coffee or going to the movies or plays.
- Sticking close to your sober network – Hovitz and Cutler affirmed the importance of staying connected with a 12-step or other support group at this time of year. Cutler recommended plugging into an AA or NA holiday event— a tip that may be especially helpful for those who can’t be with family over the holidays. Hovitz shared how a close-knit group of women friends have enriched her recovery and strengthened her resilience to relapse.
- “Giving back” – Giving back is another great tool for preventing relapse that both Hovitz and Cutler emphasized. Hovitz shared how involvement in charitable and volunteer work, both through regular outlets for service and one-time commitments, have helped her stay successfully sober.
As for how to handle holiday parties and pressures to drink, Hovitz and Cutler shared some practical strategies for keeping the season festive while avoiding relapse. Get all of those here. You can also check out our Learning Center for other helpful tips on how to help you or a loved one get through the holidays.