Part 4: Addiction, Recovery, and Navigating the Holidays

Holiday Relapse

With the stress and triggers present during the holiday season, people suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) are at greater risk for relapse. Statistics show that 85% of individuals in recovery from substance use disorder will return to using at some time. Relapse happens most frequently during the first year following treatment. Although, relapse is common and remains a threat for years into recovery.1 Entering the holiday season, be aware that relapse is not a one-time event, but rather a process that can be recognized.

Three Steps of Relapse
A relapse is a three-step process that ends in going back to opioid use after a period of sobriety. Knowing these steps may help to recognize the beginning of a relapse before opioid consumption happens.

The following are the stages of relapse:

  • Emotional Relapse – Remembering a past relapse, denial of emotions about relapse, isolation, skipping treatment or meetings, poor self-care, and relaxing recovery rules
  • Mental Relapse – Planning a relapse, looking for opportunities to use, romanticizing past use, opioid cravings, thinking about situations around past use, bargaining with yourself, and minimizing dangers of use
  • Physical Relapse – Resuming the use of opioids2

Stay Positive
If you find yourself in one of the relapse phases this holiday season, remember that this does not mean that you have failed. It is important to know that setbacks are a common part of the recovery journey. Also, remember that there is hope. Research shows that 75% of people with substance use disorder report being in recovery.3

For emotional and mental relapse, reach out to your support system including family, friends, groups, and therapists. Returning to treatment regimens will help end your relapse at one of these early stages. Physical relapse may seem overwhelming. Memories of the pain of previous detox should not deter you from seeking help again. Treatment and long-term recovery can be a bumpy road, but there is hope.

When seeking treatment from a physical relapse, there is a revolutionary option to help you through the detox process. S.T. Genesis is an FDA-cleared, drug-free, noninvasive treatment device that can rapidly reduce 93% of withdrawal symptoms within the first hour after application, most of which occur within the first 20 minutes. When seeking help after a holiday relapse, talk with your provider about this device.

Speranza Therapeutics offers support and encouragement this holiday season to everyone struggling with OUD, those on their recovery journey, and all of their loved ones. Wishing you a new year full of hope and recovery.