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Holiday Survival Guide

The holiday season can be good and bad for everyone. On the surface, it is a truly wonderful time of year. Family and friends come together to share experiences and traditions while others donate their time and money to help others. However, it can also be a challenging time of year for many families and individuals. This may involve financial stress, grief, remorse, bad memories, and emotional pain.

Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol are consumed excessively, regardless of how the holidays are spent. Substance abuse and addiction are common. It’s also challenging for people in sobriety to survive the holiday season. Fortunately, there are practical approaches to staying sober, helping someone struggling with addiction, and enjoying quality time with family and friends.

1.) MANAGE STRESS IN A HEALTHY WAY

The stress of the holidays is real and felt by most people. Post-pandemic, families across the nation are coming together to celebrate. It can be a stressful time.

Whether you are struggling with addiction or are in recovery, it is vital to manage stress healthily. Drugs and alcohol do not constitute healthy stress management.
Take advantage of downtime and time to yourself. Reach out to your sponsor if you need support. Consider going to rehab during the holidays; this is not a crazy idea and is the best time to go to treatment.
Additionally, focus on getting plenty of sleep, stay connected with supportive family members, and remember to do things for yourself.

2.) HAVE AN EXIT PLAN
Anyone in recovery from addiction should have an exit plan during the holiday season. This is especially important during early recovery from addiction.
Whether you are struggling with addiction or are in recovery, it is vital to manage stress healthily. Drugs and alcohol do not constitute healthy stress management.
Some individuals choose to be a designated driver for the night to avoid the pressure of being offered drinks. However, most hosts today do not assume that everyone drinks and will offer a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.
Finally, if all else fails, set a time to leave and stay only for as long as you need to socialize, say hello, and make a discreet exit; no one is going to be offended.

3.) CALL A FRIEND
Most people in recovery have sober friends, a sponsor, or someone they can call when things get rough. Enlisting their help when attending social events could be a good idea. In contrast, if you are struggling with drug addiction, reach out to someone you trust and ask for help.
Just having someone to talk to makes a big difference. In addition, they can also be there to intervene if you feel you are going to slip up.
If you do not have sober friends or someone to speak to, reach out to a family member, counseling services, or a 12-step meeting. Twelve-step meeting groups are popular around the holiday season, and meetings are often available every day.

4.) EARLY INTERVENTION SAVES LIVES
Drug and alcohol addiction is a real problem during the holidays. Times are difficult across the nation post-pandemic amidst record inflation.
Addicts are still using drugs alone, and overdose rates are among the highest they have ever been. If you notice a family member addicted to drugs who need help, early intervention will save their life. This does not have to be a formal family intervention but a one-on-one heart-to-heart conversation.
However, there are circumstances where formal intervention is required. Hiring a professional interventionist works and is an excellent option for a family to consider.

5.) BE PREPARED FOR CHANGE
Families change and grow along with family traditions. Be realistic about what to expect and accept everyone for who they are. The tallest hurdle is putting aside differences. The chances are that the person you are talking with is struggling with something themselves.
Post-pandemic, family dynamics are finally getting back together and moving past the wedge that was created. Some family members may have changed, while others may not have. Yet, more people are struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
Reach out to those in need and give back to the community. Personal growth and change are important, and the holiday season is a good start.

There are risk factors around the holiday time—binge drinking, heavy alcohol use, drug use, recreational drug use, or experimenting with drugs. Holiday parties can get out of hand, while others struggle with loneliness, mental health issues, and addiction.

It is common for individuals to overindulge over the holidays. Unfortunately, it is also common for people struggling with addiction to go overboard. Anyone in recovery faces an uphill battle and is often faced with uncomfortable choices.

Those who already struggle with addiction may find that the holidays bring up negative emotions or additional scrutiny from family members. They may use even more to cope with the negative feelings or try to hide their drug use.

The Holidays don’t have to be a stressful time. They are intended as a time of celebration and gathering, and those with addiction struggles should be able to enjoy them without risking relapse.

The holiday season is a time to celebrate family, friends, and life. It is particularly important to support those in recovery and help those in need who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

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