Holiday Relapse: 5 Common Triggers


Holiday Relapse: 5 Common Triggers

Well the holidays are upon us and I have a friend who struggles with a drug addiction. Especially during the holiday season. They have gotten clean a few times, but ultimately end up relapsing, and usually right around the holiday season. I could never understand that. If you have gone through the often painful withdrawal process, and have been able to maintain staying clean for a significant period, and getting your life back on track, why would you want to put yourself through all that again by starting to use again? It seems that when in recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction, the question of relapse is often not “if,” but “when?” Most addicts relapse at least once, and many do so multiple times. Relapse is common. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 40-60 percent of people relapse in recovery. So what is it about the holiday season that causes theses relapses? Here are 5 common holiday triggers.

  1. Emotional Issues

During the holidays, stress, frustration, depression, anxiety, and other emotions can lead to a relapse because using drugs or alcohol represents a coping mechanism. That makes sense to me. The chaos involved during the madness of the holidays is crazy enough. I could not imagine having to deal with all of it, all while trying to remain sober. The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year when it comes to emotional turmoil. Feelings of shame, guilt, humiliation, embarrassment, anger and depression are generally associated with this period.

  1. Work/Family Parties

Ah yes. The holiday office parties and the family get-togethers. Then add to this that drugs and alcohol are likely going to be present. A party atmosphere serves as a trigger and they associate party attendance with past use. Putting yourself into this situation, especially if you are newly recovered, runs a high risk for relapse.

  1. Financial Problems

During the holidays, money is spent like it’s going out of style. Christmas gifts, flights to see family, and other holiday related expenditures cause a great deal of stress. The key to this is to not get in over your head with expensive purchases. Know your budget and stick to it. A lot of people spend well beyond their means this time of year, and cause a ton of stress down the road when the after holiday bills come in.

  1. Family Conflict

Being in close contact with family members is another big stressor. Especially knowing that alcohol will more than likely be served during family get-togethers or parties. Old wounds may be reopened when family members have had a few drinks, which could result in an increase in conflict that may get out of hand. We’ve all seen the movies where grandma has one too many and causes major drama. I’ve witnessed this first hand, and it is not at all a pleasant experience. So naturally, the urge to drink or use drugs in elevated extremely.

  1. Schedules and Time

The holiday seasons are madness. People running around like maniacs. From work deadlines, rushing home from work, running to go shopping, to go to parties, and to family events, it just seems there isn’t enough time, and that in itself can trigger relapse. The best way to combat this is to make a schedule and STICK TO IT.


So with these five common triggers for relapse, I can understand how it could be so easy to relapse. How anyone survives this time of year is baffling to me, but it is like the ultimate test in willpower for someone in recovery. I think with the right support of family, friends, coaches, etc., that it is possible to overcome this time of year, all while remaining sober and clean.

–Devin T., San Francisco


The Addictions Coach team is here to help you through the holidays and all year.  Call us at 1.800.706.0318

Have a safe and sober New Year!



How To Manage And Cope With Chronic Pain. Guest Post by Jennifer McGregor


How To Manage And Cope With Chronic Pain



Image by Unsplash via Pixabay


Chronic pain can affect anyone, and it can come in many different forms. Managing pain levels and learning to cope with the symptoms can be difficult, but there are some things you can do to minimize your pain and prevent it from taking over. In fact, preventative measures are just as important as pain relief. Talk to your doctor before attempting any new exercise regimen, however, to make sure you won’t be aggravating your symptoms.

Good communication with your doctor is imperative. Not only does he need to know how you’re feeling, but in order to make an informed decision about your care and treatment, he’ll need to know what your daily activities are and how you’re treating your body. This means you’ll need to be honest about your habits–eating, smoking, drinking, etc.–and make an effort to get on a healthy track.

Here are a few tips for the best ways to manage your chronic pain.


Treat yourself well

Schedule monthly or bi-monthly massages to ease your muscles, or create a relaxing atmosphere in your bathroom where you can take a hot bath. Eating a well-balanced diet and getting daily exercise are other examples of the best ways you can prevent chronic pain from becoming overwhelming, although you’ll need to check with your doctor to make sure any exercise program you want to follow won’t exacerbate your symptoms. It’s also important to get enough sleep, at least eight hours a night, and to be sure you’re taking all medications as prescribed.


Get support

It’s important to have a supportive group surrounding you when you’re going through chronic pain symptoms. If your friends and family don’t understand how you’re feeling, consider joining a support group where you can talk to others who are coping with chronic pain.


Learn relaxation methods

Massages and hot baths can work wonders for pain, but there are alternative methods you can try such as meditation and breath control. Practicing yoga is a great way to get in exercise while learning mindfulness, which includes focusing on the present rather than worrying about past events or what the future might hold. They are also great ways to learn to cope with stress, which can contribute to chronic pain.


Learn the bad as well as the good

Learning about the things that contribute to your pain as well as the ones that help you feel better will help you make good decisions and keep you from unknowingly adding to your issues. Smoking, stress, not getting enough rest, and drinking alcohol are all things that can contribute to pain.


Keep a journal

Keeping a journal every day full of your activities, diet, and sleeping habits will help you spot issues that may contribute to your pain levels. It will also be helpful for your doctor, so make a point of keeping accurate and detailed notes including a rating of your pain level at the end of the day.

Jennifer McGregor, a pre-med student, co-created the site to help spread reputable health information. She knows how difficult it can be to sift through health info on the web, and wants to change that.

Call the elite team at The Addictions Coach at 1.800.706.0318

Jay Keefe: Uber Confessions- Saber Tooth House Cat


Jay Keefe: Uber Confessions– Saber Tooth House Cat

Every once in a while, and it’s a great while, I meet someone who I just click with.  We just jive, just get each other, and when they go on their merry way, I think to myself, Self, that was as close to a perfect conversation as any you’ve ever had.  Doesn’t matter if it was a little sick, a little twisted, a little dark, it was still perfect.

I picked Javier up in the South End at 3 am on a Saturday/Sunday and had to drive him deep into Cambridge, almost all the way to Arlington.

We chatted about family, where we were from and what we were doing for the holidays.  After discussing how uncomfortable Christmas dinner can be when politics or religion comes up (we had the same beliefs with both, by the way) we started talking about pets.

What follows is as close to the exact conversation as imaginable (I wrote it out in my head for the remainder of the night and added it to my laptop the next day, so it’d be fresh).  Besides, I’ll never forget it.

“Yeah,” I said.  “I have two goldens.  People kept telling me they’d slow down at three.  No go.  Then they said, ‘They’ll definitely slow down when they’re five’.

“Nope.  Never happened.  Then they promised, ‘Seven… seven’s the magic number.  They have to slow down at that point.’

“They just turned nine last month and they’re finally slowing down, but just a little bit.”

“That’s awesome,” Javier said.  “I’ve always been a cat person.  I had this cat for nineteen years, all of my adult life and he’d always bring me presents, almost as if he was worried about me, ya know, like I wasn’t eating enough, kinda like, ‘Here, this is for you.  You need to eat.’”

“Let me guess,” I said.  “Birds?  Mice.  Frogs.  All of the above?”

“Yup.  And it was an everyday occurrence.  And I was like, ‘No buddy.  I got it under control.  I can take care of myself.  I don’t need you to feed me.”

“He was looking out for you,” I said.  “That’s sweet.”

“I know, right?  Then it got me thinking… Tens of thousands of years ago, Saber Tooth tigers had these crazy long fangs so it’d be easier to rip in the cranium of cave men, ya know, to just get in there and shred our brains, to get to the good stuff.

“And here I am, living with one in my apartment.  Granted, it’s a smaller version of a Saber Tooth, but it’s essentially the same animal.”

“They’re self-sufficient,” I said.  “They don’t need us.  That’s always made me nervous.  Dogs do.  Cats?  Not so much.”

“My biggest fear,” he said, “Is that someone with enough money or time or science is going to someday create a house cat that’s just a little bit bigger than what we have now.  Then it’ll be all over.”

“So you’re talking cat apocalypse?” I asked.

“Absolutely.  I mean, Bob Cats aren’t huge, and they can do some serious damage.  Even if a house cat was ten or twenty pounds heavier, I think we’d be fucked.”

“And they’re always looking at us,” I said. “Taunting us, almost.”

“Bingo.  I’m telling ya man, animals are going to take their revenge on us someday.  Serves us right.  Who are we to take over their planet?”

He paused for minute.

He was buzzed, the kind of buzz I always chased after I had my first drink but could never achieve because I couldn’t slow down long enough to enjoy it.

“Did you ever see the YouTube video of the eagle attacking the little kid?” he finally continued.

“I have not.”

“The eagle goes right after him.  It’s nuts.  It was a fucking baby.”

“That is nuts!” I agreed.

He started giggling.

“I don’t mean to laugh, because it’s a horrible situation, but part of me wanted that eagle to win, to grab that kid and fly off into the sunset.”

We were pulling up to his house.

“Survival of the fittest,” I said.  “I hear ya.”

I turned towards Javier and he fisted his hand, raised it in the air and brought his elbow down to his side, in aYes! gesture.

“That eagle had gumption, man!” he announced.

“He knew what he wanted and wasn’t going to conform to his little eagle society.  Good for him.”

He started laughing.

“What’s the name of the YouTube video?  I have to check it out.”

“‘Eagle Snatches Kid’,” he said, then started laughing harder.

“You’re fucking kidding me?”


I was exhausted.  I had been driving for the better part of the last twelve hours.  And although I’ve never been good with any kind of titles when it comes to writing, whether it be a poem, an essay, or a book, ‘Eagle Snatches Kid’ was fucking priceless, especially in the middle of Cambridge at 3:30 in the morning.

I burst out laughing.

“Jay, man, thanks for a great ride.”

“Absolutely my friend.  Absolutely.  What a way to end the night.  Thank you!”


Dr. Cali Estes: Staying Sober Through The Holidays


Dr. Cali Estes gives you tips and tricks to Stay Sober Through the Holidays

The Holidays are always a tough time of year for anyone who suffers from any addiction: process addictions, substance abuse, and alcoholism. It’s a time where memories, feelings, and emotions are intensified. There are many triggers that lead individuals who have been in recovery from addiction for different periods of time to relapse.
Continue to Dr. Cali Estes’ full article below:

Breaking News: DEA Labels CBD Hemp Oil A Schedule 1 Drug, Right Next to Heroin

Breaking News: DEA Labels CBD Hemp Oil A Schedule 1 Drug, Right Next to Heroin

cbd oil

Well here we go…let’s peddle Suboxone like candy but let’s outlaw a natural substance that saves your life and reduces opiate withdrawal safely. Big pharma wins again. Everyone is doped up on “legal” drugs these days. Wellbutrin, Paxil, Adderall (legal coke), Xanax …
Subs which are just opiates. Now we have a “vaccine” so you don’t get high. Wake up people. The media has convinced you MJ and cbd oil is bad, but all your “mental health” nonsense meds are “needed”…


Visit us at The Addictions Coach or call the elite team at 1.800.706.0318.  We are here to help you recover from addiction, naturally.



Dr. Cali Estes on Quite Frankly Discusses Using Marijuana to Treat Opiate Withdrawal.

Dr. Cali Estes on Quite Frankly Discusses Using Marijuana to Treat Opiate Withdrawal.  


Dr. Cali Estes discusses using Marijuana to treat opiate use and detox/withdrawal symptoms. Listen in as she discusses this controversial topic.
Watch the video of the broadcast here:
Listen to the broadcast here:

Kids These Days: Do they Have the Tools for Success?


Kids These Days: Do they Have the Tools for Success?


If you are having trouble with a teen or adult child’s behavior or lack of respect and motivation,visit us at to learn how to get them on the fast track to success and restore peace to your home.

Dr. Cali Estes gets to the root cause of the ambivalence and the ‘stuck points’ to assist her clients in moving forward with their lives in a productive, happy and excited manner. It is not just about the ability to create a life for themselves, but the ability to create a life that has meaning, joy and fulfillment.

Read on for an article with one person’s views on why kids are struggling today:

Hope Not Handcuffs: Addicts Find Help in a Police Station

Hope Not Handcuffs: Addicts Find Help in a Police Station



Katie Donovan, executive vice president of FAN pictured above left

Hope Not Handcuffs is a collaborative effort between Families Against Narcotics (FAN), Macomb County police departments, EMS, and other organizations to help those addicted to opiates and other substances. If a person comes to a designated police department seeking help, our team will work to get them into treatment as soon as possible, they will not be sent to jail.

Learn more in the article below and see how you and your community can get involved! We need to end this epidemic! Call Dr. Cali Estes and her team at 1.800.706.0318

The Addictions Coach: Music and Education


Music and Education


Music plays such an important role in learning, and unfortunately it’s becoming more and more frequent that arts programs in schools are being cut for budgeting reasons. Read on for a great article from Crowfly guitarist, Davey Jones, as he discusses how music affects us physically and emotionally, and why its such a vital part of education!

Want to see how music impacts the brain?  Check out our Addiction Camp with Angel Bartolotta. We are offering a 3-day intensive to learn music, learn coaching, how the brain works on music, and meet like-minded people. Call today at 1.800.706.0318

Musicians and Depression





Musicians and Depression

This morning I was perusing my usual music pages, when I stumbled across an interesting article. It was an article about how musicians are three times more likely to suffer from some form of depression. Now, as a musician, I always knew depression in the music scene was there, but I had no idea to that extent.

Now, I can completely understand, as being an artist or musician is quite hard on someone. When you are first trying to get your name out there, there are so many things working against you, which itself can become overwhelming.

First, no one knows who you are, and are less likely to come see you. Playing a show to an empty room, as you can imagine, is not fun, and a blow to your ego and self-esteem. Unfortunately, this is the way it works in the music industry until you start building more and more momentum.

Secondly, if you become involved with the drugs and alcohol side of things, that will only amplify those feelings of depression. At the time of doing the drugs or alcohol, it may give you that temporary relief or easement of those feelings, and I think that’s one of the reasons musicians become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s an easy escape, but that escape often comes at a severe price.

Now I think the biggest attribute to depression in fledgling artists and musicians is money, and the first topic above ties into this. Being an unknown artist or band, means you make very little money. You make very little, to play for no one, and you often spend more money to get to the shows than what you make. So basically, you are LOSING money. Obviously since you’re not making money, you are not able to afford decent food, and an improper diet can lead to depression also.

Also with being a touring musician, comes the strain on personal relationships. I cannot tell you how many relationships have been destroyed over this. I think a lot of women/men really like the IDEA of being with a touring musician. In theory, it does sound enticing, I suppose. But when the reality of just how much work comes into sustaining that relationship becomes apparent, it often almost immediately dissolves. It is a lot of time away and trust plays a HUGE factor. Most pro bands are out on the road for a year, sometimes even a year and a half, or even two years at a time.

Most people think that musicians write sad songs just to sell albums, when in all reality, they are truly writing from the heart. I don’t think a lot of people truly understand what it really takes to be an artist or musician. It takes a special kind of person to do it for a living. But, as long as you keep your head up, it’s totally worth it, not to mention fun.

Davey Jones, Guitar player for Crowfly


Dr. Cali Estes and her elite team at The Addictions Coach specialize in high-profile clients. We have the skills and resources to help wherever we are needed. Whether on stage, the field or court, or even on set, we are there!  Call us today 1.800.706.0318