Avoiding Alcohol and Substance Abuse during the Holiday Season
Many of us look forward to winter holidays and celebrations, yet this time of year is also one of the deadliest: more people drink excessively and take (illegal) substances than at other times of the year. This is also the time when addicts may ignore their alcohol or drug problems rather than draw attention to their disorder or feel left out at any party, family gatherings and other festivities.
Here are some reasons why alcohol or drug abuse tend to increase during the holiday season:
Stress - Worrying about money, plans, buying gifts, accepting or sending invitations, preparations, family gatherings, and so much more adds to the seasonal stress.
Isolation - People in recovery may isolate themselves from friends and family because they may feel that their social circle will reject them if they don’t behave as they did during their addiction. As a result, some people may isolate themselves to avoid social events, making them vulnerable and more susceptible to going back to their bad habits.
Grieving - For some individuals, holidays are a painful reminder of bad memories, others may grieve the loss of their loved ones, and still, others may not have family or friends to spend holidays with. These feelings of loneliness and sadness can lead to depression and increase the risk of drinking or taking drugs.
Lack of Support -Temptation during the holiday festivities is serious and all too common. Without proper support and under peer pressure, some individuals may risk relapsing or spiraling into addiction.
What Can You Do?
With so many temptations and triggers during the holiday season, you can benefit from our support and these tips for dealing with alcohol and drug cravings:
Talk with the host. If you’re comfortable enough to disclose your addiction or desire not to drink to your host, or if they know of your condition, talk with them about what alternatives they will have for their non-drinking guests. You can also plan ahead and bring your own assortment of drinks for yourself and/or others. Those who don’t drink will be glad to have options, and your host will appreciate your help.
Enjoy sweets and treats. A good trick for staying off alcohol or drug cravings is to enjoy some sweets and treats. If you’re worried about weight gain, make sure to get some exercise, which will also increase your endorphin levels.
Have a plan. Whether you’re attending festivities with friends or family or going out, make sure to have a plan and a supportive person to call if a difficult situation occurs.
Limit your time. Don’t hesitate to limit your time when attending festivities. Spending time with family and friends is wonderful, but if you’re feeling tired, uncomfortable or drained, don’t force yourself to stay. Remember, your health comes first.
If you or a loved one needs help with this or any other issue, Communicare is here for you. Take a look at our services and don't hesitate to contact us!