With nearly 20 million Americans in need of treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction it’s no wonder that the holidays bring attention to this issue resulting in isolation, tension and fear, as well as increased substance abuse whether it be drugs or alcohol.
Understanding a loved one’s struggles with becoming and staying sober can be difficult at any time, but even more so during the holidays. Doing so, however, can go a long way in helping your loved one deal with their addiction and stay sober throughout the season.
Within the United States, millions of individuals are actively engaged in recovery and are living successfully as sober individuals. These individuals act as a support system for not only one another, but also for others who want to get clean and stay sober throughout the year and, particularly, during the holiday season. MountainsideDrug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Center understands the importance of a support system and has put together a guide to help families as well as individuals who are struggling with addiction themselves or of a loved one.
One of the most important things a person in recovery needs to remember is that he or she cannot allow the holidays to become an excuse to drink or use drugs. In addition, the individual must realize that the holiday season brings increased risk to their maintaining freedom from drugs and alcohol; i.e. remaining clean and sober.
That’s why it’s important to pre-plan prior to attending a holiday celebration, assessing the potential risks of each event and developing a plan that insures that you stay on the recovery path. It’s also important to remember that people aren’t alone and that many addicted individuals have successfully celebrated the holidays without relapse by following these 5 simple guidelines and rules:
1. Don’t feel as if it must discuss why the person isn’t drinking; simply saying ‘no thanks’ is sufficient. On the other hand, if people feel comfortable sharing and feel that it will help them stay sober, by all means do so.
2. Don’t be pressured into drinking- if anyone begins to try and pressure to drink, it’s time to walk away.
3. Bringing along a friend to gatherings that understands situation, or even someone who is also in recovery, can help in remaining sober. In addition, when being at a party, it’s always a wise idea to find someone to be around with whom a person can feel safe.
4. Prior to beginning the festivities, devise a way out. Many twelve-step meetings are offered throughout the season – keep a schedule of those meetings close by, knowing that the person can safely escape and attend one should it be needed.
5. If the holiday event is being held at the home, make it a no-alcohol venue. Clearly communicate the plans to the guests and ,if they choose to not abide by the request, simply be removed from the situation.