24 Oct Halloween: Surviving holidays with sobriety intact
Timing rehab over holidays can be a smart move if that’s when your sobriety is tested.
“I decided to come to rehab in October specifically to miss Halloween,” says Coral, “before being a mum I spent most Halloweens in New Orleans, and anyone who has been there for Halloween knows it’s a big party.”
Associating a time of year, with specific triggers is not uncommon.
Halloween, Christmas and NYE with addiction
Coral was sober for 3 years before relapsing last Christmas. Over the past year she has struggled, and she made the decision to come to Lanna Rehab now, because she knows from experience that holiday times like Halloween and Christmas are her biggest tests.
“I have struggled with alcoholism and – on occasion have taken party drugs – but drinking is the biggest part of my problem. In college it was funny. Well, for a while it was funny. But, my friends seem to grow out of a certain phase in their lives and stop drinking in their twenties. I continued on. Then in our thirties some of us had kids, and – I gave up drinking when pregnant – but as soon as I wasn’t breastfeeding – I started again,” says Coral.
Parenting sober over Christmas
“Motherhood gave us an excuse to get together, and drink. There are all those cheeky memes online about mums having a drink together. It seemed socially acceptable to pour a few glasses of wine. On Christmas Day I blacked out before the kids opened their presents. That made things less funny, and made me remember how serious my problem was in college.”
Rather than risk repeating a very difficult holiday, Coral has decided to attend rehab now.
“My daughter is 7 years old and I don’t want her seeing her mum like that again.”
Holidays are difficult for many people. Pressures from family, added expenses and social pressures make it a hard time of year for some.
Coral, like many people with addiction, had periods of sobriety in her life. But, when she was under stress, “I would pick up a drink. Instead of addressing things face on, it was easier to escape. Drinking was how I managed stress, but I know I can change. I need to change because the way I felt throughout the last year is not sustainable.”
Suicidal thoughts have been documented to peak over Christmas time in many parts of the world.
Being lonely can trigger use over holidays
For some people, who do not have family and friends to spend holidays with, the sense of isolation can also be a trigger. Isolating one’s self is a very common behavior for people who have an addiction. As a result, the likelihood of them spending holidays solo can be higher, and can, in turn, put them at more risk of relapse if they are in recovery.
What to do if you are struggling with addiction over holidays
If you are considering treatment this can be a positive time to take action. For people like Coral, who will be in Lanna Rehab over Halloween, it is giving her respite from one of her biggest triggers.
If you are not entering treatment but you are worried about use Dr. Hanan J Whelan Al-Said says to “to make sure you have people around you who understand addiction.”
People with an understanding of addiction are more likely to challenge use. This makes them more effective at preventing relapse.
If you have questions about seeking treatment for yourself or a family member, then please complete the form below. All inquiries will be treated with confidentiality.