It is undeniable that the way in which we celebrate the holiday season now is much different than we ever have before. With the continued presence of COVID-19, everyone around the world has been forced to celebrate in ways that they maybe did not want to. While many of us can reflect back on a time when the holiday season was difficult for us, it seems like everyone can make sense of it now. However, consider those who have struggled with addiction during this otherwise joyful and cheery time of celebration and new beginnings. For these individuals, it has likely never been easy when their addiction and holidays combine.
Why are Addiction and Holidays Often a Bad Combination?
As mentioned before, we can all relate to having a hard time at the holidays, especially now. But for those who have grappled with addiction, the holidays often serve as a constant reminder of pain, regret, guilt, and shame. They may fixate on how their lives have not panned out how they wanted, how they have lost loved ones due to their addiction, and how they continue to struggle to get sober. The holiday season offers an opportunity for reflection, and reflecting on things as they once were can be painful for those still trapped in the confines of addiction. Plus, addiction and the holidays often become even more upsetting because of the increased presence of triggers.
Common Holidays Triggers for Addiction
Triggers are things that push someone to want to drink or use drugs again. We all experience triggers in one way or another, especially if we have a past history of trauma. For those who are currently addicted or who are in recovery from addiction, the holidays can be triggering in a number of ways.
It is extremely common for there to be alcohol or even marijuana at holiday parties or gatherings. Both substances are legal to purchase, meaning that they can pop up anywhere. If you are in recovery, you might find the visuals and smells of alcohol or marijuana to be triggering. Seeing others engage in drinking and smoking may also trigger you to want to do the same.
It can be equally, if not more, triggering to be around certain individuals during the holidays. Everyone understands what it is like to have to celebrate with family members or other individuals who they don’t particularly like. But for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or who are in recovery from them, being in the presence of these individuals can be triggering. This is especially true today, as there are more people than ever before experiencing mental health disorders like depression and anxiety as a result of the pressures of the pandemic. Therefore, being around those who are struggling with these conditions can make things more agitated, leading to the desire to want to drink or use.
Loneliness, which is a common trigger for everyone during the holidays, runs rampant at this time of year. You may be experiencing loneliness because you do not have a significant other, a group of friends who support you, or you may even have issues keeping you from connecting with your family. Addiction and the holidays really become triggering when loneliness sets in.
The good news is, addiction and the holidays do not always need to go hand-in-hand or be triggering. There are ways to effectively deal with addiction during the holidays.
Dealing with Addiction and Holiday Triggers
It is critical to have at least a few helpful tricks up your sleeve if you are going into the holidays and have a past history of addiction. It is equally as important if you are still using but want to stop. Some helpful tips to utilize are as follows:
- Know what your triggers are. Spend some time really sorting out what makes you want to drink or use drugs. Once you have identified these triggers, you can prepare yourself for what to do if and when they occur.
- Have a reliable resource, whether it is a family member, friend, or even a sponsor who you can talk to at any time. Triggers can come out of nowhere, especially during the holidays, so knowing you have someone to lean on can help make them easier to manage.
- Do not visit with individuals who you know will trigger you. This is not always easy for some, especially considering the holidays are a time to come together. However, there is nothing more important than preserving your sobriety or working towards recovery. Do not surround yourself with people who can jeopardize that.
- Take a break from social media. Studies show that spending time on social media can increase loneliness, depression, and anxiety, especially during a time when all you may see on various platforms are the happy moments of people’s lives that they want you to see.
- Continue seeing a therapist and/or going to support group meetings. If you do not do either, consider doing so. The support you can gain from both individual therapy and meetings can help strengthen your reserve and keep you accountable this season.
Treatment Options During the Holidays
Even though everyone is running around during the holidays, it does seem like certain aspects of the world slow down quite a bit. It is not always easy to make dentist appointments or health check-ups and mail delivery can take a while. Some offices have fewer staff on the clock due to the holiday, making turn-around times slower than usual. Thankfully, treatment centers do not slow down at this time, especially because more people tend to reach out for help during the holidays. Addiction and holidays often coincide with one another, therefore it is more than possible to get the help you need at this time.
The traditional programming options for substance use disorders, such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs are all still available at this time. All you need to do is reach out to the facility of your choosing to begin the admissions process.
Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN
Seeking help during the holidays may not seem ideal, however, focusing on your health and addiction can be the best gift to yourself. At Detox Nashville, we provide the highest quality of care possible no matter what time of year it is. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction during the holidays, visit our admissions page to get addiction information from our compassionate admissions specialists. You do not need to live a life of substance abuse any longer. Call us right now to learn more about how we can help you.