This is What The Holidays Were Like
For those that are now sober it can sometimes be a tricky time when it comes to the holiday season. Addiction treatment in Los Angeles is happening every day of every month, but the holiday time, around Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah can be a time when drugging and drinking was encouraged and even expected. Office parties, friendly gatherings, and spiked eggnog become regular phenomena.
“Merry Christmas… what do you want to drink?” and “Let’s party” were some festive greetings that I enjoyed hearing and there was an awareness that alcohol was going to be a part of every function. Drugs like marijuana and even cocaine and pills might enter into the mix for some people as well. That is why addiction treatment and drug and alcohol detox services in Los Angeles are such an important resource during the holidays.
I Thought I Seemed Sober
It seemed to me that I was able to handle plenty of Christmas libations compared to others. I could even get that mini-bar humming and make drinks for others and fill their glasses.
Good times! If I stepped out for a toke or had mixed beer, wine, champagne, and more, it was just part of the holiday experience of indulging, right? It was never apparent that someone would need an inpatient detox in Los Angeles or Hollywood, but many people find out that they need help with addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Seasons Greetings and “Normal” Using
Friends that I know who have been drinkers and users could use the holiday season to “normalize” binge drinking or using in a setting in which gatherings and events can create great cover and distractions for the addict to continue on a self-destructive path. Here are a few ways that holidays provide “cover”:
Gift Wrapping. The secretive nature of wrapping gifts became a perfect cover for drinking and using in secrecy. The idea of hiding because you don’t want people to see their gifts being wrapped created the safe zone for having some vodka or maybe snorting a line. When it comes to treatment centers in Los Angeles and drug rehabs for inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment, Y and Y Recovery knows what the addiction mind is like and how to make key changes.
Catching Up With An Old Friend. Friends could make excuses about going to see a friend to catch up when really it was an excuse to use and drink and maybe watch football, which can take up many hours of a day. I remember my ex-fiancee wondering how we could “watch” football from morning until night and why I would sometimes want to spend the night at an old friend’s house. It was not because of the close friendship but because I was too buzzed to drive or afraid of getting a DUI. Part of Los Angeles Drug Detox programs and alcohol treatment involves changing old modes of behavior.
The Gift Shopping Excuse. It takes hours to browse and shop for gifts and that creates a great window for addicts and alcoholics to say they are doing something selfless like shopping for gifts, when really they are at the local watering hole or at a friend’s house that is known to be a place where people are drinking or using without judgement.
Not Having To Sneak Around. Many addicts and drinkers have a detailed history of lying and making up stories and rationalizations for using and partying. The holidays provided a respite from this intense observation and feelings of being “monitored” by people around the addict. The holiday events and visits created more freedom to not sneak around since the focus is on the gatherings and preparations, such as decorations and family travel.
For Serious Sobriety You Must Plan Ahead
Staying sober for the holidays takes commitment and an awareness that thoughts may creep in at this time which say drinking and using are acceptable and part of the experience for this time of year. Just one glass of bubbly won’t hurt, right? Just one puff will take the edge off after that big meal. These are pitfalls to avoid. Inpatient rehabs in Los Angeles are familiar with these kind of stories and when a new client is admitted, the holidays triggers are common explanations.
When beginning your recovery or for those that are in their first few years of sobriety, keep a strategy in mind when it comes to the holidays.
Plan out your days and routine more carefully during this time, knowing that you might be in situations where abundant free alcohol or drugs might be available. Let your sponsor or other sober friends know where you are and what you will be doing and call someone if you are feeling weird or vulnerable.
Enjoy Plan A, But Have A Plan B
If you know you are attending a party where the drinks will be flowing, have an escape plan, known as Plan B, in case you feel like it is too much or if temptation is stronger than expected. For a drug detox in Los Angeles or our alcohol detox in Hollywood, having a custom plan for your recovery will be crucial.
If your partner or friend or family members are with you, be sure they are aware that you might need to leave at any moment or on very short notice. Consider having a Plan B event or location like going to the movies or going out to get a tea or a peppermint mocha.
Take The Pressure and Expectations Off Of Yourself
You can use an old boundary technique when arriving at a gathering by letting your hosts know when you arrive that you may only be able to stay for a short time because of other commitments. For substance abuse treatment and effective inpatient detox services, you can reach out to our team for a free consultation.
By not feeling obligated to stay at a party for the duration you can take the pressure off of yourself in case you feel too close for comfort regarding the heavy drinking or people who may be using in your presence. Los Angeles outpatient rehab protocols make it a must to keep your sober circle in the loop about where you are going and what you are doing, so stay accountable.
You Aren’t Drinking?
Others may have good intentions when offering you a drink and some may actually pressure you to join in or draw attention to you for not drinking, which does not help you keep the balance you are trying to achieve.
It can be a great practice to keep a sense of humor. You can ask for a strong virgin cocktail, or just say you are driving and you’ll have a soda or sparkling water.
Also, be on the lookout for spiked eggnog, rum cake, and other alcohol-infused goodies that might tempt you to want more than just a tasty bite. Los Angeles drug detox centers and our alcohol rehab center in particular can guide you in the right direction to start a new life path that is not dependent on mind-altering substances.
Don’t forget that the sober community has its own parties, potlucks, and meetings to provide a sense of community and cheer during the holidays.
It is nice to have supportive and inviting places that you know are based on real interaction and not just having an open bar, which may have been the main focus in the past. Addiction treatment in Los Angeles and especially our inpatient detox in Hollywood can make a big difference in the life of someone that is still caught in the cycle of using or drinking.
Be Smarter and Stronger Than the Disease
Be aware that alcohol addiction and drug addiction are not only physical diseases but also spiritual and emotional illnesses that can have an impact on many levels.
You need to be smarter than the disease and be cautious when heading to drunken Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties. The holidays are a perilous time for anyone leading a sober life, because emotions can sneak up during the end of the year, as we contemplate good or bad events.
Stay connected to sober people and use the coping tools your may have picked up at your Los Angeles treatment center, the inpatient detox program, or the outpatient drug and alcohol detox center you attended. Check in with our team with any questions about what treatment is really like at Y and Y Recovery.
Have a Happy and Blessed Holiday Season from the Y and Y Recovery Team!