The Gift of Recovery: 6 Reasons Why the Holidays Are the Best Time to Go to Rehab
The best time to go to rehab is when you are ready to do the work for recovery from addiction. If you have been thinking about getting help, the holiday season can be the push you need. This is often a difficult time even for people who don’t struggle with addiction. For you there may be all kinds of triggers that lead you to drink more or use drugs. Rehab can help you get sober in a safe, supportive environment and ride out the holidays with other residents and expert, caring addiction professionals.
The holiday season can be a fun time to enjoy parties, have families together in one place, and to celebrate. There is so much potential for joy at this time of year, but many people struggle through it instead. Family and hosting parties can bring on stress; disappointed expectations may trigger depression; and substance use can be triggered.
According to surveys of rehab facilities, relapses of drinking and drug use jump during the holiday season, by as much as 150 percent. This is a risky time of year if you are in recovery or if you are struggling to stop using. Consider it the perfect time to go to rehab. Avoid all the stress and damage the holidays can do, and instead put you and your health first.
1. The Gift of Recovery Is the Best Present.
We tend to think of the holidays as a time of giving to others, which is wonderful. On the other hand, if you are unable to give back to family and friends or to the community because of your addiction, consider giving yourself the gift of recovery.
Going to rehab for the holidays instead of being with family may seem selfish, but it isn’t. This is also a gift to your loved ones. If you have been struggling to overcome drug use or drinking, professional treatment is a necessity. Instead of crashing through the holidays, getting drunk or high and causing harm to yourself and your relationships, gift yourself with rehab and professional support to start the next year fresh and in solid recovery.
2. The Holidays Are Full of Relapse Triggers.
Whether you are in recovery and struggling, or you have never sought rehab or treatment but have been trying to quit using on your own, this time of year heightens the challenge of staying sober. Triggers will always be an issue for someone in recovery from a drug or alcohol use disorder.
A trigger is anything that jumpstarts a craving for a substance of abuse. Addiction is a complex disease, but it is known now that it is a learning process. The brain learns to associate certain things or feelings with the pleasure experienced when using a substance in the past. So, when you encounter those triggers during recovery, your brain’s conditioned response is an intense craving, which of course can easily lead to a relapse.
Some of the most common triggers for relapse include people or places that remind you of using, difficult emotions, and simply seeing or having access to drugs or alcohol. During the holidays you will see people drinking, and this can be a huge trigger. Negative emotions that arise from seeing certain family members or the high expectations and the added stress of the season can act as triggers as well. By going to rehab now, you put yourself safely out of the way of these risky triggers.
3. The Holidays Can Also Trigger Mental Health Issues, Like Depression.
Another good reason to get into rehab this time of year is the potential for mental health challenges. Millions of people in the U.S. struggle with both mental illness and a substance use disorder. The two issues feed each other. A mental illness like depression, for instance, can make you reach for drugs or alcohol to cope. This doesn’t really help, though, and your depression may worsen and the cycle continues.
During the holiday season, the same triggers that may lead you to relapse and use drugs and alcohol may also trigger your mental health issues. The prospect of facing big parties can be an issue for social anxiety, for example. Feeling like a disappointment to family or comparing yourself to others can trigger a depressive episode. In rehab at this time of year you can work on both your addiction and your mental health challenges.
4. Rehab Is a Safe Space.
Triggers for substance use are not the only dangers during the holiday season. You may be facing family members or other people from your past you don’t have to see very often. You may cross paths with an abusive relative or a partner who treated you badly in a relationship. Generally, people you would ordinarily avoid may be around right now.
Rehab can be a safe place to spend the holidays. Get away from those people who, while they may not physically harm you now, might be emotionally abusive or trigger a relapse. A residential facility can provide you with a safer, more comfortable environment to get through this difficult time.
5. Notify Family About Your Substance Use Disorder by Doing, Not Saying.
If you’re trying to stop drinking or using drugs, you’ll face a lot of questions at every party and family gatherings during the holidays. The stress and pressure of admitting to everyone that you are trying to stay sober can push you to use again. And, it’s generally just uncomfortable and embarrassing.
A great way to inform everyone who cares about you is to simply get the help you need. When you check into rehab for the holidays, you can tell one trusted friend or family member and let that person notify everyone else. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell people you need help, but the fact is that it often feels this way. Let your actions send the message, and you may be surprised at the messages of support, love, and encouragement you get from those who care.
6. Rehab Now Will Help You Enjoy the Holidays Next Year.
Maybe there was once a time when you enjoyed the holidays. You loved being with family, exchanging gifts, and going to parties. There was time off work or school, and the season was relaxing, not stressful. You can get back to that place, but as someone struggling with substance use disorder, it will take practice and help.
By going to rehab now, this holiday season, you set yourself up not just for success in the coming year, but for all holidays in the future. Treatment in rehab will teach you how to live a sober, healthy lifestyle, how to avoid and manage triggers, and what to do during difficult times. If you want to enjoy the holidays in the future, you need to put in the work and the time right now.
Waiting on treatment until next year will only put you through another difficult, damaging, and potentially dangerous holiday season. If you can’t stop using, you need professional help, and this is the perfect time to get it.
Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders.