Father’s Day is a joyous day of the year, and for others, it is a dreaded day filled with grief, emotions, and potential triggers for relapse. Holidays are an incredibly challenging time for people in recovery, and Father’s Day is no exception.
The bond a child has with their father is significant to their early development. Fathers are important to your development, self-esteem, inner- growth, and when that relationship isn’t as well-built as it could be, it can impact your life in powerful ways.
The time leading up to the actual day of celebration makes individuals anxious as well. Anxiety often triggers an addictive response to cope with the stress of the pressure and causes a relapse. Father’s Day triggers might include traumatic family memories, grief, guilt, sadness, or abuse. External triggers are social, environmental, or emotional situations that remind people in recovery of their past drug or alcohol use. These cues bring about urges that may lead to a relapse. Internal triggers are emotion-based and involve an individual’s feelings previously associated with substance abuse. The internal triggers which could be activated due to Father’s Day are much more challenging to manage.
For the child of an addict or alcoholic, Father’s Day will most likely be spent alone or with a drunk or high father. The dysfunctional way these children learn to celebrate often impacts their adolescent years and finds its way of repeating itself in their adult lives. Not everyone’s relationship with their father is the same, like no one’s recovery journey is alike, so what triggers one individual to relapse might not trigger another.
Having a plan is the best way to cope with Father’s Day and avoid anything that may trigger a relapse.
Here are some way’s to prepare:
1. Stay off social media:
Seeing all your friends or family members post tributes about their Dad could cause negative feelings to arise. The best way to avoid the potential stress is to stay off the apps altogether.
2. Go to a meeting:
You are not alone. You are not the only person that dislikes Father’s Day or has a bad relationship with their father. Attend a support group meeting and express how you’re feeling with other individuals that feel the same way.
3. Make Self Care Plans:
Make plans to take care of yourself on Father’s Day, if that means a message, workout class, or sleeping late. Please do it! Self-care will benefit your mental health, body, and soul.
4. Include a Tribute:
If you had a good relationship with your Dad, and he passed away, and the loss of him is what triggers you. Try and find a way to memorialize him, change the idea of Father’s Day from a sad day to a happier one where you get to remember him and the good times you’ve shared.
5. Surround Yourself with People that Love You:
There is no rule on who you have to spend Father’s Day with. So spend the day with people you enjoy spending time with, that make you feel safe and love and care about you.
Learning to recognize your triggers, attending meetings, calling your sponsor, speaking with your therapist, and building a support group are valuable resources for preventing a relapse. Do anything you can to prevent a relapse, but it’s not the be-all-end-all if you do slip up.
Remember, relapse is not a sign of failure. You can still recover. You’re on an unfamiliar path on the journey towards long-term recovery. So, with continued therapy and external support, you should build more robust defenses against frequent triggers.
When to Seek Professional Help for Triggers
If you’ve followed the guide of practical methods to prevent Father’s Day triggers and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your desire to use substances getting worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking around the triggering event can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but addiction can be treated, and you can feel better!
Don’t forget about these valuable tips, though. Even if you’re receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, expediting your recovery and preventing the feelings from returning.
If you find yourself struggling with the temptation to abuse substances, attend a meeting, speak with your sponsor, or contact us to speak with one of our professional counselors.
Avatar Residential Detox Center in New Jersey provides quality health care for drug and alcohol addiction treatments and behavioral health services. Please call+1 (973)-774-7222 for more information if you or someone is going through difficult times with substance abuse. We provide a variety of treatment services for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues.