For those of us in recovery, we tend to wait until after the holidays to focus on our recovery and use the New Year holiday as a benchmark to begin our recovery journey. We live in a society focused on new beginnings and fresh starts, so our obsession with New Year’s resolutions is not surprising. We go on diets and purchase gym passes on January 1st, and we set goals to improve our happiness, quit smoking, and cut back on our alcohol consumption.
Starting your recovery journey before the holidays can be more beneficial to you and your loved ones rather than waiting until after the holidays or waiting until you can make a New Year’s resolution. The holidays can be triggering for anyone due to financial stress, complicated family dynamics, feelings of loneliness, and the urge to “fit in and be your best” at holiday gatherings. These triggers can fuel your addiction and lead you to drink and use more as a way to cope with difficult feelings. It’s understandable how you can become overwhelmed and how your substance abuse can quickly spiral.
Holidays can be triggering
Even if you are close with and feel supported by your family and friends, the stress of the holiday season can be triggering and can create urges and cravings to engage in substance misuse. You may experience financial difficulties while trying to purchase gifts, feel isolated around certain dinner conversation topics, feel stressed when making travel plans, or maybe become anxious about seeing people you don’t want to.
Holiday parties and gatherings usually involve being around alcohol and being in an environment where lots of people are drinking can be triggering in itself. This is a lot of pressure, and the build-up of this holiday stress can trigger you to drink. This could lead to difficulties staying sober throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is why it’s a good idea to start rehab before the holidays.
Suppose you are estranged from your loved ones. In that case, the holiday season can be even more difficult as feelings of loneliness, past traumas, and negative emotions can arise, and you may feel the urge to use alcohol to cope with these difficult feelings.
To learn more about holiday triggers and your recovery, read here:
End-of-the-year benefits: PTO and insurance deductibles
Job responsibilities frequently deter people from seeking treatment throughout the year; however, at the end of the year, you may have unused PTO, personal days, and sick pay available, and your employer may give you holiday pay because your company is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is especially true if you’re in school or if your child is in school since the holidays likely coincide with winter break.
Your employer usually expects that people will need some time off for the holidays, so your boss and coworkers may be more understanding of your situation when you take time off to start your recovery treatment before the holidays. Regarding insurance, your healthcare deductibles reset on January 1, so if you have met your deductible, it is best to take advantage of this so you have fewer out-of-pocket expenses. Akua Mind & Body accepts most insurances that cover multiple levels of care, such as residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, virtual outpatient treatment, and detox.
If you’re unsure if you’ve met your deductible or have questions about your insurance coverage for treatment, we can help you get the answers you need.
To learn more about insurance deductibles, read here:
New Year’s Resolutions are a myth
There is a common catchphrase in addiction recovery: “The best time to start recovery is yesterday. The second best time is today.” In other words, waiting for the “right time” to enter recovery is a trap many people fall into, like moving the goalpost forward a little bit each time. This is especially true around the New Year, when you may want to wait until January to begin your recovery journey.
The reality of New Year’s resolutions is that 80% go unmet, so why wait to start a New Year’s resolution with a high failure rate? It may seem like waiting will make things easier, but starting recovery treatment, regardless of the timing, will always be challenging, so it’s better to start today.
If you want to read more about why New Year’s resolutions can be detrimental to your mental health or why Dry January comes with potential risks, read here:
You won’t be lonely
The holiday season can be lonely for many, regardless if they are surrounded by loved ones or are alone for the holidays. Addiction recovery, contrary to popular belief, is not lonely. You are surrounded by other people who share commonalities with you and are trying to reach the same goals in their recovery journey. You are not only in a supportive environment with fellow recovery clients, but your treatment team is there to support you and guide you through this time. Your friends and family can also visit you during your recovery.
Relapsing during the holidays is messy
The holidays can be a minefield for potential relapse, especially if you are surrounded by negative triggers and are not confident in your coping skills to navigate these challenges. Because of the stress of the holidays, relapses are likely to occur around this time of year, and it can be painful and uncomfortable for everyone involved, especially if you are at family gatherings or holiday parties with people you know. The holidays can heighten unwanted emotions, and relapse can make these negative emotions even worse.
Give yourself (and your loved ones) the gift of recovery
If you’re ready to seek help for your alcohol or drug, the best time to enter treatment is before Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you asked yourself in a moment of real honesty, “What’s the best gift I can give my loved ones this holiday season?” what’s the first thing that would pop into your head?
It’s not a new kitchen appliance, vacation, or fancy pair of shoes, but rather, the right answer is sobriety, and entering into treatment is the first step in reaching that goal. By seeking addiction recovery before the holiday season, you are giving yourself and your loved ones the gift of hope and the gift of you.
Call us: (888) 629-6707 anytime to speak with an admissions counselor, we are available 24/7.