The holidays are stressful for everybody. There’s always family drama. If you’re not in the same area, you have to make travel plans. There’s always that one cousin that gets on your nerves. Even if everything goes well, you’ll have to worry about buying food and gifts.
For those struggling with substance abuse, the holidays are even tougher. You might not have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Maybe you live too far from family to make it back to celebrate. Some people might not even be welcome at home during the holidays because of past mistakes made while using. Regardless of what you’ve done in the past, everyone deserves happy holidays. Check out these six reasons why you should go to treatment during the holiday season.
1. Spending the Holidays by Yourself Can Be Depressing
If you don’t have anybody to share them with, the holidays can be incredibly lonely. Maybe you’ve left home chasing that high; maybe your family has told you they don’t want you to come to the gatherings this year; maybe you simply just don’t have anyone to share the holidays with. It can be a big blow to be by yourself on days centered around family and friends. Knowing that most other people will be sharing the day with loved ones compounds the loneliness, and often lends to the cycle of using. Treatment can give you the chance to take steps to break the cycle, focus on healing for next year and even cultivate new relationships.
2. There’s a Spike in Suicides and Overdoses During the Holidays
It can be easy to try and numb these feelings of loneliness with drugs and alcohol. Many people struggling with substance use disorder will begin using with more frequency or in heavier doses during the holidays. Some take it even further if they find they can’t handle another season of loneliness. Thousands of people end their lives before giving themselves the chance to get the treatment they deserve. This cycle of abuse and internalized loneliness can cause an enormous spike in drug and alcohol-related overdoses and suicides during the holiday season. Why risk toughing it out? Treatment might just save your life during the holiday season. Why not give yourself a chance at life, love and happiness in the future instead of becoming the ghost of holidays’ past?
3. You’ll Regret Embarrassing Yourself or Your Family at Gatherings
You’ll hear it from almost every person that’s in recovery: “It’s nice to finally be invited back to family gatherings, especially during the holidays.” Most people in active addiction don’t realize the extent to which their abuse affects their loved ones at get-togethers. The holidays can be stressful in many ways. This can lead people to abuse their drug of choice more than usual. When you’re in a drug or alcohol-induced daze, it can be easy to justify your actions. While using, it’s hard to own up to your issues. In treatment, you learn how to cope with these stressors in healthy ways, which can keep you from “ruining” the holidays for the people you love.
4. You Can Spend the Holidays with a Community of Like-Minded Individuals
In treatment, you might realize that your peers are more like you than you’re willing to admit. You don’t need to feel like the black sheep, isolated around your own family. In treatment, you can share the holiday spirit and build strong bonds with chosen family. Instead of stealing grandma’s cough syrup at Thanksgiving or drunkenly knocking over the menorah, you can spend Christmas morning sharing gifts with new friends. Without the stress of family drama, you can enjoy yourself without the desire to drink or use to cope.
5. The Best Gift You Can Give Your Family is the Gift of Recovery
It’s okay if you’re afraid of missing the holidays with your family. It’s okay to be scared of taking that leap of faith into treatment. Make sure to remind yourself of all the ways treatment can benefit you and your family in the long run. You might not want to be separated from your partner, children, parents, or close friends during the holiday season, but the reality is that missing one Christmas morning or Noche Buena could be the difference between sharing the rest of your life with them and dying from an overdose or drunk driving. The best gift that you can give your loved ones is a long with other holidays in the future.
6. It’s the Best Way to Start the New Year
Although you can commit to recovery any time of the year, it’s nice to jumpstart the year with a goal. As cliché as it might be, it’s refreshing to start a new year with new beginnings. Although not all little resolutions might last, they often set the tone for the rest of the year. Some people think New Year’s resolutions are cheesy, but the best commitment you can make is to stay clean– even if it’s just for today.