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Holiday stresses could mean relapse for addicts

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- The holiday season can be a joyous time but for those in recovery, it can also be a minefield.

Treatment centers say all of the holiday preparations, parties and family gatherings can be a bad mix for people who have struggled with alcohol and substance abuse in the past.

“Trying to balance that is stressful,” Katie Sweeny a licensed counselor at The Fahrman Center in Eau Claire said.

The Fahrman Center is a place where people seek help battling all kinds of addictions. They say this time of year can be tough on those struggling to keep sober.

“I think relapse is pretty common. People really struggle around the holidays they are not an addict’s friend,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney says everything from holiday parties with alcohol, to family issues can be a trigger for someone to relapse.

“Its high risk because its holidays and then you expose them to that and then you expose them to alcohol and that can be a trigger for them,” she added.

In order to avoid relapsing, experts recommend setting up a support system before the holidays, reaching out to others if you need help and make sure you take the time to take care of yourself.

“We focus a lot on coping skills because in recovery because it’s all about dealing with everyday life stressors.” Sweeney explained. “So while they are in here we talk about the holidays a lot we will also give them each a list of coping skills. Some of that can be journaling some of that could be reaching out and going to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings and finding a support group.”

Sweeney says there are hotlines like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous available for people struggling with addiction. We have contact information on both of those groups under Related Links.

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