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NMHS students decorated the Town Green purple in honor of THP Project Purple, a national anti-substance abuse initiative of The Herren Project, launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse, and shed light on effective treatment practices.
Anxious about temptations during the holidays? This article provides helpful hints on ways to remain sober during this season!
Photo via Pixabay by Jill111
The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, but for a person who is coping with sobriety, they can bring a slew of negative emotions and situations that are hard to get away from. Knowing your limits and setting realistic expectations can be helpful, however, and it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Getting through this time might be tricky, but with some preparation you’ll be able to deal with it in a healthy way and come out on the other side all the stronger for it.
Here are some tips on getting through the holidays while staying sober.
Limit contact with certain people
Everyone knows that the holidays are a time to be with family, but no family gets along all the time. If you know you’ll be spending time with individuals who are best taken in small doses, limit your time with them and don’t engage in conversation that you know won’t have a peaceful resolution. Politics–especially at the moment–are a tricky topic to navigate without getting emotions involved, so steer clear and spend time with your adorable nephew instead.
Speak up when traveling
Traveling can be stressful, especially on airplanes where you’re forced to sit next to someone you don’t know. If possible, travel with a friend or loved one; if you have to go alone, and your seatmate is a drinker, politely ask the flight attendant to help you switch seats. If that isn’t possible, put your headphones on or read a book and tune out your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel you need to move; most airlines are very accommodating.
Plan your day
If you’re staying overnight or out of town over the holidays, plan some activities to do while you’re there so you won’t get stuck sitting in the house. Keeping your mind and body busy will help you avoid boredom, negative thoughts, and long conversations with an infuriating family member. Plan a sledding trip, shopping, a trip to the movie theater, a game night, or a cookie decorating afternoon to fill the hours.
Make your own holiday
If you aren’t planning to see your family or don’t have any close by, make your own holiday by creating plans with friends or group members. If you don’t feel good about being alone during this time, it will be enormously helpful to have plans, even if it’s just to see a movie or go out to eat.
Bring your own drinks
If you’re going to be somewhere with a lot of alcohol, bring your own bottles of water, juice, or soda. Practice what you’ll say to someone who asks you if you want a drink (or something stronger) and build up your confidence around it so you’ll be able to stay strong.
When traveling, don’t hesitate to reach out to your sponsor, a trusted friend, or a local group session when you start to feel a craving or stress. Being tempted is natural, especially during the holidays. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean you will have a relapse. Let someone know how you feel and ask for help if you need it.
This is a must read! Excellent article written for our coalition by Robert Hunt, a recovering addict and active advocate for those suffering from substance abuse and mental illness.
Teen Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse: Understanding the Basics
Dealing with a combination of substance abuse and mental health issues is difficult at any age. Especially for teenagers. Unfortunately, there are those who are unsure of how to go about providing support when a teen is suffering from any type of emotional illness and is also battling dependence on medications, illegal drugs, or alcohol. Here is some information that explains the impact that this type of dual diagnosis has on teenagers, the social stigma that comes with this combination, and what can be done to help the patient recover.
Which Comes First?
There is no one way for a teen to get to a place where substance abuse and a mental illness are part of daily living. One scenario involves the development of depression or some kind of anxiety disorder as the result of an illness or some catastrophic series of events. When people are telling the teen to shake it off or ignoring the warning signs altogether, the individual may turn to self-medicating.
At first, choosing to engage in recreational use of legal or illegal substances may seem to lift the depression or allow the individual to function without experiencing the mind racing and panic attacks that come with anxiety. Unfortunately, the benefits are short-lived. As the addiction develops, it takes larger and more frequent amounts to achieve any type of good feeling. In time, even that sense of feeling better is replaced by a constant craving.
For others, the depression or anxiety is the result of becoming addicted to alcohol or some type of drug. The usage starts out as something fun to do and a way to be a part of the group. As the craving increases and it becomes harder to function without having a hit or finding someone to supply a bottle, the teen begins to experience the seemingly contradictory sensation of feeling nothing at all and feeling too much at the same time. After a while, even getting a fix won’t restore a sense of feeling normal.
The Isolation and Stigma
As the problems mount, people find it easy to turn away. Peers who are not involved with any type of substance abuse or have never experienced the crippling effects of emotional illnesses find it hard to relate. With no idea of what to do, they choose to look the other way. That includes making a decision to not invite the teen to social events, call to check on the individual, or include them in their lives in any way.
Others don’t just turn away. They begin to ridicule the teen. Being classed as weak, no good, and worthless make it all the easier to sink deeper into depression and drug use. Unless someone intervenes the potential for the teen’s life to end in tragedy is very real.
Treating a Dual Condition
Seeking professional help is the only way to overcome a dual diagnosis. By taking into account the general health of the teen, it’s possible to come up with the right approach to come up with a combination of treatments. This may include counseling to aid in dealing with the depression while employing detox treatments that help to incrementally decrease dependency on the drugs of choice. While the process may take months, committed professionals monitor the teen throughout the process and adjust the scope of treatment when and as the need arises.
Seeking help is the key to overcoming a combination of substance abuse and emotional illness. With professionals there to determine the severity of the conditions and identify the methods that will help the patient, it is possible to feel good again and be able to control the addiction successfully.
By: Robert Hunt- a recovering addict of 7 years. He has devoted his life to helping others suffering from chemical addictions as well as mental health challenges. Robert maintains many blogs on drug addiction, eating disorders and depression. He is a sober coach and wellness advocate and a prominent figure in the recovery community.
ARE YOU AFFECTED BY SOMEONE ELSE’S ADDICTION?
NAR-ANON OFFERS HOPE
Nar-Anon Family Groups are a worldwide fellowship for those affected by someone else’s addiction. As a twelve step program, we offer our help by
sharing our experience, strength, and hope.
St. Gregory the Great Church-Community Room
85 Great Plain Rd. off Hawley Rd.
(Use Lower Parking Lot adjacent to the school/playground)
Tuesday’s, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
JOIN US FOR SUPPORT AND RECOVERY
Nar-Anon World Services
23110 Crenshaw Blvd. Suite A Torrance, CA 90505
(800) 477 -6291
To get a printable version of this flyer (for outreach purposes), go to nar-anon.org/outreach -flyer