Recovery from substance abuse is a life-long journey. The journey isn’t easy, and it can become even more difficult during the holidays. Between holiday parties and family gatherings, the combination of stress and temptation can be overwhelming for anyone trying to stay clean.
This year, however, the holidays will look much different than years past.
For many of us, this year’s holiday dinner party will be replaced by a meal with a few members of our immediate family. For men and women going through treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, this may mean a holiday dinner spent alone.
A socially distanced holiday may certainly make some aspects of the holiday season easier to manage for those in recovery. But it may also give rise to a whole new challenge–isolation.
Together, Addiction and Isolation Can Create a Vicious Cycle
Addiction breeds isolation. And isolation can fuel addiction.
The recovery journey is not a journey to be taken alone. It requires the support of a community of people – family, friends, counselors and peers going through the process together.
When someone suffering from addiction tries to go it alone or experiences a period of isolation during recovery, the likelihood of them relapsing and falling deeper into addiction is far greater.
And yet this holiday season, with travel mandates and quarantine restrictions, our clients in recovery will have no choice but to self-isolate from friends, family, and their peer support groups. A time of year that should bring people together in joy is putting men and women who suffer from substance abuse at greater risk.
Isolation Doesn’t Have to Mean Loneliness this Holiday
Maintaining recovery this holiday season will require inner strength and the support of family and loved ones – even if they’re not in the same room or sitting around the same table.
There are several ways to fend off loneliness this holiday and care for your physical and emotional health and wellbeing as you stay on the path of recovery.
Virtual Calls with Family and Friends
Virtual calls with family and friends have been a saving grace for our clients at The GateHouse throughout 2020. Since the beginning of the first COVID quarantine back in March, technology has helped ward off feelings of isolation while clients faced the natural emotional hurdles that come with recovery.
Over these next couple of weeks, taking the time to FaceTime with a child or talk with a parent over Zoom is one of the best ways to beat isolation and enjoy a truly happy holiday. Seeing family over the screen isn’t the same as hugging them, of course, but it’s a wonderful way to maintain connections and avoid loneliness.
Stay Connected with Outpatient Groups
Our clients’ support systems are made up of more than family members. After residential treatment, they face new challenges as they begin to rebuild their lives, and only someone who has walked that same path can truly understand what they’re going through.
During the holidays when family may not be nearby and when our clients may be eating Christmas dinner alone, leaning on the support of peers from outpatient groups is one of the best ways to feel connected.
Keep in touch with your outpatient groups and meet virtually throughout the holidays. You can even celebrate the holidays together with a virtual group dinner. Connecting with others who understand where you are on your recovery journey and who also feel isolated this holiday will be positive for everyone.
Have a Happy and Healthy Socially Distanced Holiday Season
Isolating over the holidays doesn’t have to be lonely, and it doesn’t have to threaten the success of your long-term recovery. Reach out to loved ones, connect with your support system, and have a happy, healthy holiday.
The GateHouse offers outpatient services for long-term addiction recovery to clients throughout Lancaster County, PA. We help our clients access the services and resources they need to return and contribute to their communities. The entire team at The GateHouse would love to help you with your next step in recovery. Reach out to us today!