Most people look at the holidays as a happy season, a season where you can catch up with loved ones and friends you haven’t seen all year. However, this time of year can be the most stressful and dangerous for those who suffer from mental health and addiction issues. Often, family issues can be triggers for people to use. Increased focus on family ties and family activity may make the holidays more difficult for people in recovery. This time of year highlights any issues people might have with their loved ones in addition to emotional issues such as depression, loneliness, guilt, loss, or anger.
You may be worrying out about buying gifts for everyone on your list, trying to decide what to wear to that holiday office party or family get to gather or having your in-laws stay over your house for a week. Blended families often have to deal with generations of biases and wounds. Individuals who are suffering from drug abuse and other internal problems can use the holiday stress; we all experience, to intensify their own destructive behavior/s. Drug abuse can seem like a logical escape from the drama for many individuals. It’s important for people in recovery to have a plan in place for how they’ll handle someone who pressures them about using.
Substance use increases and drinking is promoted as a way to socialize and celebrate with loved ones. It can be difficult to find places where people are not drinking, making those in recovery feel isolated. Remember- Having alcohol-free places to go is also important. Attending extra support meetings, supplemental therapy, volunteering and spending time with non-using friends are all beneficial. There are “sober parties” at most AA groups; you can call your sponsor; or contact a support person or call a “help line”. Never be afraid to ask for help.
AND–If you are hosting a holiday party, it is important to provide diverse beverage options, including non-alcohol drink choices.
Written by BES Group and Associates Staff – Northline