“Though the holiday season is a festive time, and alcohol can be an ever-present element of the festivities, it can also be an emotionally painful time for many.”
~ Robert Castan, co-founder of Northpoint Recovery featured in Idaho Statesman
Recently, Robert shared an article he wrote about how holiday stress can affect and trigger addiction. Through his own personal experiences, Robert shared some of the reasons addicts struggle during the holidays.
“Alcohol and other substances are used and even abused to dull the pain of difficult holiday memories, challenging family dynamics, and the stresses around shopping and gift giving, budgeting, cooking large meals, hectic travel, office parties and more.”
~ Robert Castan, Idaho Statesman
The holidays tend to be a time of overspending and overindulgence, which can often lead to regret. Whether you are an addict or have a loved one who is addicted, the holidays can still stir up a variety of feelings and emotions. The holidays can also bring up memories of those we no longer have with us as well. It is in the complexities of these different thoughts that can push anyone into the wrong mindset. However, don’t let yourself become overwhelmed! Learn how to manage these stressors and maintain sobriety this holiday season.
“Some advice and coping strategies shared with people in recovery can actually serve as general advice for anyone trying to manage holiday stress.”
~ Robert Castan, Guest Opinions in Idaho Statesman
Everyone is aware the negative impact stress can have upon a person, and the holiday season seems to provide an extra dose. This is why it is best to focus on how to manage stress in a healthy manner to avoid any slips, relapse, or other issues. Robert shared in his article that the main way to help manage stress is to focus on yourself. It is really easy to try to push through the holiday season and allow your body and mind to take a backseat. However, by placing yourself first to make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, eat well and allow yourself time to relax and/or meditate you will find yourself a lot less stressed.
“Lowering your expecations of friends and family, letting go of both idealized visions of the holidays and judgments, and understanding that others are also experiencing stress and paind can help you to be more forgiving of loved ones and yourself.”
~ Robert Castan, Idaho Statesman
The other way to manage stress that Robert mentions is to manage expectations for yourself and others. Whether you are the addict or the loved one affected, providing realistic expectations is the best way to manage stress. No one ever wants to feel put on the spot, and by maintaining a healthy ideal on what the holiday should look like for you and your family, you will be able to reach and possibly exceed your own expectations!
The Greatest Holiday Gift
“Families can help people dealing iwth addiction navigate the holidays in a supportive way and pave the way for long-term recovery by leading with love rather than disappointment, resentment or anger.”
~ Robert Castan, Northpoint Recovery President featured in Idaho Statesman
This holiday season, it is important to focus on the present and not the past. No one person is perfect, and it is best to forgive and move forward than to stay stuck in the past. When you truly forgive and accept what has been, then you can be hopeful for the future and what will be next. To those who have loved ones with addiction, remember the most important gift you can provide is support. To anyone who is, or knows someone struggling with addiction, please reach out and get them started on their clean and sober journey today!