Contributor: “Benefits of Support Groups During the Holidays” was written by Cedar Crest Hospital clinical team member Erica Smith, MA, NCC. Erica has several years of experience working in the treatment field as a clinical therapist and has her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from the American School of Professional Psychology.
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While the holidays are a joyous time for many, they can also be a time of great struggle for those who are in recovery from an addiction to alcohol. This is a time where there are many gatherings in which alcohol is served and freely enjoyed by many.
For those who have not gone through the daily battle that alcoholism elicits, they do not have to worry about the presence of alcoholic beverages at the various parties and festivities that they attend.
However, when someone has worked hard to overcome his or her addiction, and then is bombarded by large amounts of alcohol, it can cause much distress. For this reason, it is important that individuals who struggle with an alcohol addiction to seek out support during this time.
Sobriety Doesn’t Mean No Parties
Having struggled with an addiction to alcohol does not mean that a person has to refrain from attending parties and events at which there will be alcohol served.
However, when one does attend an event where he or she is exposed to alcohol, there are important things to keep in mind. The first, and most important, is to be aware that it can be easy to make rationalizations in order to justify having a drink, but one must refrain from doing so.
For example, it can be easy to tell oneself that he or she will “just have one drink” and that it is okay because “it’s the holidays” and that he or she will be able to stop after having just one.
The Risks of “One Drink”
While it is very possible that this could, in fact, be true, and an individual may be able to have just one drink and then stop, the risks of doing so are far greater.
For those individuals who have dealt with an addiction to alcohol, they already have the knowledge that having “just one” drink can quickly turn into “just one more” and the vicious cycle begins to start up again.
There is no reason to put oneself at risk for returning to that cycle of alcohol abuse by having “just one.” Instead, it would be beneficial to have a plan in place as to how one can remove him or herself from the situation should the temptation to drink arise.
Let someone who is supportive of your recovery be aware that you will be attending an event where there will be alcohol served and then reach out to that individual should the temptation become great. Additionally, have an exit strategy in place that you can use if you find that the temptation has become overwhelming and you need to leave.
The Possibility of Avoiding Parties
While one does not necessarily need to avoid parties and events in order to remain sober, it may be beneficial in order to ensure that sobriety remains intact. While it is important not to isolate yourself because that can lead to depression, and depression can bring about the desire to drive.
However, it is important to be selective about which holiday gatherings you attend. If you know that a certain party is going to get especially rowdy, it would probably be of benefit to refrain from attending.
Finding a Support Network
Whether or not an individual decides to attend parties in which alcohol will be served, it is important that anyone who has an addiction to alcohol finds a network of support to help him or her refrain from falling back into old patterns.
There are countless types of support groups offered that can help assist individuals in maintaining their sobriety during the holiday season. By visiting the Alcoholics Anonymous website, you can find locations near you where meetings are held. Attending such meetings can help you find the support you need to avoid relapse. Furthermore, many treatment centers and community centers offer various types of support groups that can help you stay on the right track during the holiday season.
Seeking treatment for an addiction to alcohol is imperative in order to prevent the devastating consequences that can be elicited by prolonged use.
There are a variety of treatment options and therapeutic interventions that can be implemented in order to help someone who is struggling with a dependency on alcohol not only overcome their addiction, but develop the tools necessary for successfully maintaining continued sobriety long after treatment has been completed.
Treatment Is Always Available
For individuals who find that they have been unsuccessful at maintaining sobriety and need intensive care in order to get back on track, inpatient treatment can be of the most benefit.
Partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs can also provide individuals with the intensive treatment they need while still allowing them the comfort of returning home at night.
Regular outpatient services are also offered and can be beneficial at helping individuals have a safe environment where they can go and discuss their concerns and the challenges they are facing in regards to their alcohol addiction.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
How has your recovery benefited from support groups during the holidays?
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addiction. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 1st, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com