The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time spent with family and friends, but when you are struggling with drug addiction, it can be incredibly challenging. There are high expectations and a lot of commitments during this time that can leave you feeling drained and stressed. These feelings often lead to drug use to compensate for the added pressure. The period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s consistently sees an increase in the number of overdoses compared to the rest of the year. It’s no coincidence that this is the case. Many families will postpone seeking help or rehab for their loved ones during this time of year, even though it’s a time when rehabilitation is needed most. If you fear that you or someone you love is headed down a dangerous path this season, don’t hesitate to contact us or give us a call at 1-800-725-0922.
If you know the holiday season is problematic and are worried about unhealthy consumption of any drug, whether for you or someone you love, there are steps to safeguard you, or that person, from abuse or relapse.
UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITY OF THE HOLIDAYS
The holidays are a trying time for anyone. Feelings of depression, stress, and exhaustion are not uncommon, and it’s best to know what you want to get out of the holidays. Instead of walking into the season on the defensive, try to ask yourself: “what can I do to make this season right for me?” One way to help manage the added stress is to forgive yourself for shortcomings and others for their wrongdoing during this complex time.
SET HEALTH GOALS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
The holidays are incredibly busy. Setting goals for yourself is a great way to keep you focused on trying to stay sober and limiting the amount of stress that might crop up. Goals vary from person to person, and it would be up to you to identify what you need. Some examples might include limiting the number of parties you attend, setting a curfew for yourself, giving yourself a time limit at certain events, or finding a friend who could act as a sober companion. The main objective is preventing relapse and discouraging use, so make time to identify manageable steps to help you succeed.
IDENTIFY YOUR BOUNDARIES
Identifying your boundaries is a great way to manage the amount of stress you let into your life, but they can sometimes be tricky to pinpoint. Every person will have different boundaries and different reactions towards the violation of the limits they set. Some common examples of boundaries include physical touch (such as a hand on your arm or being embraced by another person), giving away personal/emotional information when you don’t want to, or saying yes when you want to say no. Boundaries are not bad and should not be considered negative. They are the blueprint for what you need in order to feel fulfilled and safe. Violated limits lead to resentment, burnout, and dissatisfaction which are some of the feelings associated with the onset of drug abuse or relapse. Do yourself a favor and take time to address any areas you think are off limits.
FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
During this trying time, it is recommended that you find a partner to be accountable to. Find someone in your life that you can trust to hold you accountable for your actions. That person can be a family member or friend that you confide in and are not afraid to be brutally honest with. Make sure your accountability partner is up to date on what drugs you are specifically trying to avoid and set up a time each week to connect with them and talk about your struggles and successes.
TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME
This piece of advice should be applied throughout the year, regardless of whether the holidays are around the corner or not. When you focus on smaller actionable steps, you’re setting yourself up for having a successful outcome. Small victories lead to bigger victories. Try to dedicate time every day to doing something that makes you happy or accomplishing something from a checklist of things to get done.
For those who are taking the steps towards acknowledging a problem, it’s important to recognize you simply don’t have to attend any situation that you feel jeopardizes your ability to meet your targets. The possibility of substances being available to you is high during this time of year, and it’s never a good idea to tempt yourself if you are worried about your drug use. You are under no obligation to attend such events. If you have any reservations, just don’t go. It’s the safest option.
SIGN UP FOR TREATMENT
It’s a misconception that the holidays are not the right time to start a rehabilitation program. Some families want to focus on spending their time being together. The season is a stressful time when there is plenty of alcohol, and other drugs are being consumed. Treatment during the holidays is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family.