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Do you change your routines as Christmas nears? Does the holiday frenzy pull you away from what’s been keeping you clean and sober?

The holiday season can throw a monkey wrench into your recovery plans. Too many parties, too much money stress, too much family and no time for yourself or your recovery…

For those in recovery, the festive season is a risky season!

Holiday Relapse Risk Self-Test

The holidays likely up your relapse risk. Find out how much more risk you’re facing by answering the following 14 questions honestly.

Over the holiday season:

  1. Will you be exposed to more alcohol and drugs at parties etc. than you normally would?
  2. Will holiday events and pressures significantly interrupt your normal routine?
  3. Will extra time commitments keep you from attending as many counseling session as you normally would?
  1. Will extra time commitments keep you from attending as many 12 step (or other recovery support group) meetings as you normally would?
  2. Will you experience financial stress due to the extra expenses associated with gift buying, traveling etc.?
  3. Will the hustle and bustle of the holiday season keep you from exercising as frequently as you normally would?
  4. Will you feel stressed out by the crowds or pressures of the season?
  5. Are you going to be in more frequent contact with family members than normal?
  6. Will you get caught up in the general party vibe of the season?
  7. Will the season provoke difficult family or holiday memories?
  8. Will you feel extra anxiety as you try to cope with additional exposure to triggers?
  9. Will you feel frustrated if/when you can’t find as much time as you need to take care of all of your responsibilities during the holiday season?
  10. Will New Year’s Eve be a difficult day to stay clean and sober?
  11. Will you have a lot of extra free time over the holiday period?


  • If you answered yes to 1 to 3 questions, the holidays cause a small increased risk of relapse.
  • If you answered yes to between 4 and 6 questions, you have a moderately elevated risk of relapse. You should prepare yourself for the extra stress of the season and be prepared to meet the challenges to your recovery that you may face.
  • If you answered yes to 7 or more questions, the holidays present a serious risk to your recovery. Plan to make full use of any and all relapse prevention methods you’ve learned to get through this difficult period.

Don’t Get Blindsided

OK, so you probably can’t run and hide from all the stress and temptation of the festive season, but at least you know when and how temptation and stress are going to hit you.

You can’t escape, but you can prepare, and if prepared and committed, you’ll make it through just fine.

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Page last updated Dec 15, 2015

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