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Gift of Recovery This Holiday Season







Let’s face it – holidays are tough.  I said it.

We have been raised to believe that the holidays are a time of the year to give thanks, show gratitude and share memories with family and friends.  In reality, for many adults, the holidays are filled with stress, horrible travel, disappointment, awkward family events, financial burdens, over imbibing, and the realization that last year’s New Year resolutions haven’t been kept and it’s time to set new ones.

Holidays can be a hurdle.  What I mean is many families look at the holidays as a period to get through before they make significant changes.   For families that play host to active addiction during the holidays, a common trait is to turn a blind eye to addiction in hopes of getting through the holidays, avoiding the elephant in the room and kicking recovery down the road until another time that is more convenient.

As with all events in life, there are varying perspectives. Center for Behavioral Health understands that the holidays present unique challenges for patients in recovery.

Many patients in treatment will be visiting family that still uses illicit drugs and the relapse potential is greatly increased. Pressure from family members to use drugs is an extremely difficult position for patients and makes the holidays a very dangerous time. There is also the family that is dealing with the loss of a loved one to addiction and the holidays bring back many memories of that lost loved one.

While each scenario is different, I think it is safe to say that when addiction is involved, each perspective adds an emotional layer to what is already a stressful time of the year.

What if we were able to change this idea of the holidays as a hurdle and instead look at this holiday season as the time to give the gift of recovery?  The holidays are perhaps the best time to address addiction head on.

Successful recovery from addiction is ongoing and requires support.  That support can come from family, a network of friends, co-workers or support groups.  The holidays have a way of bringing these groups together and pulling others apart.  For many patients, the holidays change routines and in doing so makes them more susceptible to bad choices and relapse.  The holidays are often tied to celebrations that involve excessive imbibing.  A change in environment and exposure to various holiday functions make things difficult for all patients.

To better address this year’s holiday, we believe that patients and loved ones should   acknowledge addiction, understand each person’s role in contributing to recovery practice open communication and understand the resources that are available.  While these are certainly not all encompassing, these four steps can lead to a healthier environment and perhaps positive steps to help a loved one or help a family be successful in recovery during the holidays.

I would love to understand your holiday story or one that can be addressed by this blog.


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