Hope & Caution – for Happy Holidays

The holidays are here again and it is a wonderful time of year in many ways. Everything is beautifully decorated and festive. Family and friends are gathering together, sometimes the only time they see each other in the year. It can however, be a stressful time. People that may not have loved ones to gather with can feel lonely and depressed. If a major life event has occurred it can be a sad time and difficult to be cheerful when you are going through a tough time.

The holidays evoke strong feelings, and strong feelings often override caution. Strong feelings could include the stress of keeping up with the seasonal parade of expectations and events such as shopping, travel, cooking, social gatherings, and so forth—or the stress of not having any of those to keep up with. Strong feelings also arise from our past. And our past is more present at the holidays, especially past family life. Cherished holiday memories hurt when special people are no longer with us. Painful holiday memories hurt even more when the holidays arrive, whether the people involved are still with us or not.

As a general precaution, reduce holiday stress by talking about your feelings with an empathic person and by letting go of unrealistic expectations. Specific precautions against hazardous holiday substance use depend partly on whether a person is in recovery or not. Individuals in recovery want to abstain from all mood-changing substances. But an occasional drinker may simply wish to limit her or his alcohol consumption enough to avoid disinhibited behavior (at an office party, for instance) or driving under the influence.

Motor vehicle crashes caused by drunk or drugged-driving end too many lives and damage countless others. For that matter, even DUI offenses can have life-changing consequences. The statistics are hard to ignore.

If you are in recovery, watch out for a strong feeling that you are entitled to celebrate with a mood-changing substance. One February, a man in his forties required hospitalization to treat complications of his alcoholic cirrhosis. After he stabilized and was discharged, he realized his health was fragile and, even though he did not engage in any kind of recovery program, he did not drink for the rest of the year. The man’s birthday fell in the week between Christmas and New Years. He celebrated with a drink, could not stop drinking, and was dead by the following February.

Throughout the holidays, as people gather and share food and beverages, make choices in your best interest. It may be prudent to attend only gatherings you know will be free of alcohol and other drugs and to avoid groups with traditions of getting drunk or high. If you drink alcohol, know your limits. If you do not drink alcohol—or switch to another beverage after one or two—don’t apologize or feel self-conscious about it. If someone judges you by what you drink, one of you is at the wrong gathering.

If you are the host, make nonalcoholic beverages equally available and just as attractive as alcoholic ones. For example, offer a variety of juices, lots of seltzer, and plentiful wedges of lemon and lime. Place obvious labels (that are not easily switched or altered) on bowls of beverages such as eggnog or punch so guests will know which CONTAINS ALCOHOL and which is ALCOHOL FREE. If you are a guest and unsure what choices will be offered, bring your own beverage.

Don’t turn to drugs and alcohol to medicate sadness. If you are coping this holiday season with substances, you may need to get help. Call Tranquil Shores today and learn more about our program. Together we can help you address your issues with therapy and teach you healthy ways to cope with stress and hard feelings.
We can help you Reclaim Your Life!

The Holidays Can Be A Very Tempting Time

The holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier each year.  Decorations are already up in the stores and party invitations are going out.  Many people see the holidays as a time of celebration with family and friends.  We see some of the most important people in our lives only once a year, usually around the holidays.

Unfortunately, holidays can also bring anxiety and stress, due to expectations of where and who to spend the holidays with.  Family dynamics also plays a role and seeing certain family members can be very uncomfortable and cause unresolved, painful feelings to come to the surface.

If you are currently struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, the holidays can be a very tempting time to reach for that substance of choice.  While it can temporarily ease discomfort it will cause more problems and depression in the long run.

Think about treatment if you know you have a problem with drugs or alcohol.  This may be the opportunity to get your life back on track.  Tranquil Shores provides comprehensive and customized treatment for adults.  Tranquil Shores is a therapy driven facility where clients can come on an outpatient basis or reside in beach front condos for our inpatient program.  The staff at Tranquil Shores offers a safe, compassionate environment and the clinical therapy is second to none.  We are here to help and want to see you Reclaim Your Life.