Spending the holiday season in addiction recovery treatment may not sound ideal- and it’s completely understandable. Many people would like to pick and choose the days they are in treatment, especially during the holidays. Yet, you cannot pick and choose the days that addiction overtakes your life. Addiction grips onto every aspect of your life, and it doesn’t take a break to give you peace during the holidays.
For many people, the holidays mean time spent with friends and family, celebrating with special events. For that reason, the thought of spending that time in addiction treatment may sound extremely unappealing. You might think that you will feel bored, alone, angry, or even jealous of those who get to spend time with their loved ones and live a “normal” life during the holidays. However, using the holiday season to get healthy and in control of your life is much more beneficial than you would expect. Think of it this way- spending on holiday season away from your family in treatment may mean a lifetime of health- and never missing another holiday season away from them again.
Consider some of the following reasons why it’s okay to spend holidays in treatment.
1. Reduce stress and avoid triggers
The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, especially for those struggling with addiction. People are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol during the stress of the holiday season. The holiday timing also discourages people from getting help for their addiction. There is no shortage of celebration during the holidays, which in many cases involves parties with alcohol. It also means connecting with family members you may have a strained relationship with. Not only that, but the holidays can also drudge up past memories or feelings associated with past situations and environments. These triggers may be difficult for individuals in recovery to face without extra support. When you spend the holidays in treatment, you are avoiding these triggers and other harmful situations that could hinder your recovery.
2. You will have the support of others in recovery
The thought of spending the holidays away from your family in recovery can seem lonely, but you will actually be surrounded by a plethora of love and support. Best of all, the support is stemming from those who completely understand where you are coming from in a way that your family may not. At a drug or alcohol treatment facility, you will be spending the holidays with friendly staff members and people in recovery, just like yourself. While missing your family is expected, you should understand that you are doing the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.
3. It’s easier to schedule time off
If you are worried about raising suspicions among your coworkers, spending the holidays in treatment is actually a great time because it will blend in with usual holiday getaways. Many people take vacations or take extra time off to spend with loved ones over the holidays. Because of this, many companies have fewer meetings or lighter workloads during this time, which makes it even easier to schedule time for treatment. If you work somewhere where business picks up during the holidays, such as retail, there is usually more coverage. Either way, the holiday season could be the perfect time to schedule some time off work and focus on your wellbeing.
4. The gift of sobriety
The holidays are definitely a time of giving, and what better gift to give to yourself and your loved ones than your sobriety? During active addiction, it’s likely that your negative behaviors and actions caused your loved ones pain. Addiction not only affects you but those around you. Making positive strides towards recovery means so much more than a physical gift to your loved ones, and one that cannot be duplicated. This is something that they will always cherish, even if you are unable to spend the holidays with them physically. Just remember, one holiday season away could mean a lifetime of health and happiness with your family members in the future.
5. The opportunity to start the new year sober
Not only will you learn how to celebrate the new year sober, but you also get the opportunity to start it off on the right foot. While many new years parties are typically associated with overconsumption of food, alcohol, or other illicit substances, spending the holiday in treatment allows you to celebrate in a safe, healthy environment. The new year is also a time of a fresh start. You are truly able to take advantage of this new clean state by beginning the new year in addiction treatment.
While the holidays may sound like the worst time to enter addiction treatment, it actually has its fair share of advantages. It’s natural that you will miss your family, but understand that you are doing what’s in their best interest. Not only that, but you are doing what is best for yourself- achieving recovery and a life free from addiction.