The Holidays season is supposed to be a joyful time of year. For addicts, the holidays can be an overwhelming and stressful time of year and lead to increase substance abuse. It is important to learn ways to effectively and safely deal with the active user during the holiday season.
Increased Drug and Alcohol Abuse During the Holidays
As we enter the holiday season, drug and alcohol abuse increases. There are several reasons why drug and alcohol abuse increases. Stress is one of the main triggers for relapse. Stress during the holiday season can manifest in several different ways; traveling to see family, hosting a family gathering and the financial burden of purchasing gifts. The holiday season is a time where there are many social gatherings, substance abuse if often seen at these events. This can be a time where an active addict engages in increased substance abuse. Holidays can also highlight feelings of depression and loneliness, especially for those who have lost loved ones or who have strained familial relationships.
Expectations are the main cause of resentments. The holiday season is a time with some of the highest expectations. People often work endlessly to create a happy and joyful time for their families during the holiday season. Having the expectation that an active addict will refrain from using during this time is an expectation that should not be held. Managing expectations and being prepared for a less than perfect occasion often eliminates stress for both the family and the addict. Families should also be prepared for the addict declining to attend any social gatherings during the holidays.
Dealing with the Active User
The holiday season is a time where family members gather in celebration. When dealing with a family member who is active in their addiction, this may become difficult. You may ask yourself whether or not you should include the addict in the celebration. Families must also be prepared that the addict may decline an invitation and choose to not celebrate with the family during the holiday season.
Whether or not to include the individual who is active in their addiction completely depends on the situation. If the active user is a threat to themselves or others, it may be best to not include them in a family gathering. For an addict, experiencing the consequences of their addiction often helps encourage motivation to change. Choosing to not allow the addict to attend a social gathering can drive the addict to experience feelings of loneliness and depression. It is often suggested that if you plan to include this family member in the celebration, you may want to communicate boundaries and expectations of behavior. If the individual fails to meet these guidelines, you must follow through with the consequences to avoid falling into enabling behavior.
During the holiday season, families often feel compelled to hold an intervention. This is often due to the whole family being present, especially if they are witnessing the addict engaging in their addiction. Individuals who are active in their addiction of engage in increased substance abuse during this time of year. This can be both a very dangerous time for the addict and a very scary time for the family who is witnessing the addiction. While the holidays can be a potentially effective time to stage an intervention, it is suggested you seek professional guidance or assistance prior to confronting the addict. A professional will be able to advise you on the best methods to make the intervention as successful as possible.
Concerned About Yourself or a Loved One?
Having a loved one suffering from addiction is an extremely difficult situation. Knowing the right or wrong this to do can overwhelm most families. The holiday season is often a time where families witness the addiction and seek help. If you are concerned about a loved one suffering from addiction and you need help or more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at (888)357-7577.