The Holidays and Addiction
You have probably noticed that the holiday season is nearly upon us.
For some people, that is exciting news. They love the big end-of- year holidays with the gatherings and the big meals and the presents and all the trappings of the season (though this year, we would urge you to make carefully considered decisions about how the holidays and the public health emergency can co-exist).
For others, the feeling of happy anticipation might not be part of the equation. For those folks, the holidays can be difficult for any number of reasons—from seasonal depression to sad memories associated with the holidays to grief felt over loved ones who are no longer with us for the yearly celebrations.
And if you are entering the season suffering from a substance use disorder, you may be particularly unenthused about the whole holiday thing. That is understandable.
But if that is your situation, we would like to encourage you to think of the upcoming holidays as a road map for getting and staying sober. Let’s take a trip through the upcoming holidays and consider how they might provide a useful way to think about the importance of sobriety.
Think About How Thankful You Will Be
Thanksgiving, of course, is up first. And while you might not be feeling very thankful at the moment as you struggle with drugs or alcohol, the holiday should provide you with some encouragement to think about all the things you are thankful for. More than that, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to imagine how thankful you will feel when you have put substance use behind you.
Take the time to reflect on the positives in your life and use them as motivation to get sober. You will feel gratitude—and so will all the people who care about you who are sad to see you struggling with addiction.
Sobriety Truly is the Gift that Keeps on Giving
You might not think of sobriety as a present. And okay, so it doesn’t come in a box with shiny wrapping paper and a beautiful ribbon. And you can’t set it under the tree or stuff it in a stocking.
Still and all, we would argue that sobriety is the very best gift you can give yourself. Unlike Christmas gifts that are exciting for a little while and then, often as not, forgotten, sobriety can truly change every aspect of your life in positive and lasting ways. Sobriety is also the best gift you can give your loved ones. Knowing you are safe and on the road to a happy future will help your family and friends relax and enjoy the holidays with a significantly lower stress level.
If your faith tradition includes the story of the baby in the manger, you might also think of Christmas as a time of redemption—a moment when hope comes alive and new opportunities are in sight. According to the story, that baby started from pretty humble circumstances. Let that remind you that no matter where you are now, you are not defined by your current circumstances. What good might you do in the world if you set aside drugs or alcohol?
We should note here that the essential stories of other faith traditions that are celebrated this time of year also offer examples of redemption and faith—even when (or especially when) things are hard. All of these stories and traditions can provide encouragement to get help for your substance use disorder.
Resolve to Stay Sober in the New Year
After the year we have all had, it seems safe to say that hardly anyone will be sad to see 2020 become 2021. The new year is always a moment of renewal and a time of earnestly made resolutions. Everyone knows resolutions can be difficult, but if you get sober and resolve to stay sober, you will be setting yourself up for a 2021 to remember and cherish.
So raise a glass (filled with the non-alcoholic beverage of your choice) to the new year and commit to the work that will make it a better year than the one just passed.
We Never Take a Holiday from Helping
No matter what time of year it might be, the staff at Bel Aire Recovery Center is always ready to help you or a loved one overcome a substance use disorder. Our commitment to both personalized treatment and a continuum of care that provides ongoing support mean that you will get the help and resources you need to begin your recovery journey with confidence. If sobriety is on your holiday wish list, give us a call.