Drug Rehab Center Offers Holiday Season Insights to family members with loved ones in recovery and a survival list for those in recovery. The holiday season has historically acted like a trigger for many people’s addiction and alcoholism and can be a source of a lot of stress and fear for families and loved ones. Learn what you can do to make this holiday season a successful, calm and sober one.
Apart from the warm and merry imagery of the holiday season perfectly captured in paintings by Currier Ives and Norman Rockwell, there is also a sad and less publicized side that makes the holidays very difficult for many Americans. With over 20 million Americans in need of treatment for drug addiction or alcohol abuse, the holiday season is often marked by isolation, fear, tension, and increased drug use and or alcohol abuse.
There are millions of people in this country that suffer from substance abuse issues and millions more that are in active recovery and or in rehabilitation centers across America. These individuals serve as support systems to one another and encourage each other to stay clean and sober. As we enter the upcoming holidays, many families and individuals are fearful and nervous about what to expect. Mountainside Drug Addiction Treatment Center has weighed in and listed the following common pitfalls to avoid and suggestions to follow to make the holiday season a happy and sober one for those in early recovery.
For People In Recovery:
You should not let the holiday season become an excuse for you to drink or use drugs. It is important to honestly recognize that not all holiday events / social situations are created equal; some come with invariably higher risk to your sobriety than others. It is imperative that before you commit to attending any social situation / get-together or even family event, that you make a thorough and honest assessment of all possible risks and other issues that may be present and discuss these with someone in recovery and devise a plan to ensure your sobriety. You will need to develop a healthy fear of picking up a drink or a drug and channel it into a solid plan that will allow you to enjoy the holidays clean and sober and have resolute understanding about what situations to avoid. Many people that have issues with addiction have successfully learned to adjust to all social situations, and many cite their success on a few simple rules and guidelines:
What to divulge: You don’t ever have to tell someone why you don’t want a drink. You can simply say, “No thanks.” You can discuss why you aren’t drinking if you choose. If someone starts pressuring you to drink, it’s time to walk away.
Bring a Friend and ensure support: Find a friend to accompany you to a party who understands your situation or take along a friend who is also in recovery. Remember that a lot of people do not drink and that no one knows that you are in recovery unless you tell them. Think of the list of people that will be attending and identify someone that you feel safe with. These tactics allows you to feel less alone in your situation which can curb anxiety.
Plan to have a way out: There are many twelve step meetings throughout the holiday season – identify a meeting for each day and at various times in the day. When it comes to the time of a party or social situation where there will be alcohol present or other pressures, prepare to have plans that will allow you to leave for something else. It is better to have safety-plans and not need them, then to need them and not have them.
Your house, your rules: If you are hosting a holiday event or attending a family function you have every right to make it an alcohol-free event or to simply not attend. If you are attending a party and the host has vetoed alcohol than don’t bring any. They have their reasons for having an alcohol-free party and you need to respect their wishes.
Call your Sponsor: Most twelve step based networks and addiction treatment programs offer Sponsors to help you through new situations. A Sponsor may have been in this situation at some point in their recovery and will share their experience. If you have a Sponsor, call her/him before you attend the party to help you. If you don’t have a sponsor – get a temporary one and have the number ready. Check –in: One very helpful tool is to step away from the party or family situation at regular interval and call someone in recovery. You should not wait for a hot situation to develop for you to call – call if things are going good, bad or indifferent. Commit to staying in contact with a recovering person.
Alka-thon: Any person in recovery has the option to participate in an alka-thon which is an all day 12-step based meeting event. It allows the individual to have support through-out the entire holiday. These meetings are twenty-four hours and open to anyone dealing with issues of addiction.
Sober Holiday Parties: People in the program often throw sober parties. If you are a newcomer, ask what others are doing for the holiday season and see if you can join them. Avoid being alone. Be vocal and speak up – you are not alone.
Bring your own drinks: Bring your own bottle of sparkling water, soda or other non-alcoholic beverage that you will be drinking. Don’t feel pressured to have to bring an alcoholic beverage – it is not your place to bring alcohol.
Stay Away: Stay away from situations that are alcohol related. “Come late. Leave early” is a common slogan for people in recovery. It is important to remember that you are heading for danger if you are placing yourself in situations that surround alcohol. As the saying goes: “If you keep going to the barber shop, you are bound to get your hair cut!”
For Families or Loved Ones:
If you have a loved one that you’re concerned about this holiday season there are many ways for a family member to support their loved ones during this time. There are some needed steps for tackling issues that present themselves when a newly sober person is dealing with a holiday.
Alcoholic Beverages – Do not make an issue of whether you decide not to serve or serve alcoholic beverages. If you can refrain from serving alcoholic beverages around someone in early recovery, then this is the best situation. If you do plan on serving alcohol, ensure that you have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages (juice, sparkling water, soda, etc) for the person in recovery [ AVOID non-alcoholic beverages – these are not for people in recovery ]. Try to make sure that the person in recovery is not singled out for not drinking alcohol– or being the only person not drinking – offer your quiet support by not drinking alcohol.
Alanon: Attend a family based program. Information is the key and can inform the family of the nature of addiction and how they can take care of themselves and their loved ones. Family members need support just like the person suffering with the disease of addiction. It is important for the family to understand the three C’S: Cannot cure, Cause, or Control. Acceptance that addiction is a disease is imperative to supporting the person dealing with addiction.
Stay Sober: Family members can stay sober with their loved ones as a form of support during the holiday season. Attend a meeting with the family member only if the person is open to it.
Have support / crisis plan: Have a pre-meditated plan in place so that if an issue does arise you can deal with it quickly. It is important to communicate with other loved ones that are aware of the situation so that everyone is on message.
Ask what you can do as a means of support: Ask how you can better support you loved one by having a private and candid discussion prior to the holiday.
Mountainside Addiction Treatment Center has been helping people recover from alcoholism for over 12 years and has treated more than 6,000 people from around the world. Located in Connecticut, just north of New York City, its national program continues to help people from all over the country.
It’s licensed and credentialed counselors and clinical staff includes a Nursing Team that specialize in drug addiction and alcoholism treatment. The highly capable drug addiction treatment team is dedicated to providing compassionate and quality alcohol and drug treatment. In these hard economic times – Mountainside Drug Rehab is there to help. Please contact us at the number below or visit its website at (www.mountainside.com). If you or someone you love is in need of treatment please contact us at: 800-762-5433.
Via EPR Network
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