You can procrastinate on buying gifts, changing the oil in your car, or organizing your closets. But there’s one thing that should never be put off, especially this time of year – starting alcohol or drug addiction treatment.
It’s common for people to promise themselves that they’ll make healthy changes, including getting sober, after January 1st. But New Year’s Resolutions are rarely followed for very long. For those struggling with addiction, every day that substance use continues means added risks to health, safety and relationships. And even the best intentions will likely not be enough – unless those intentions are paired with a comprehensive addiction treatment program.
Here are five reasons to say yes to addiction treatment now.
1. Alcohol is everywhere. Holiday parties and family gatherings mean that the drinks may be flowing. Controlling the amount consumed can be difficult for alcoholics, who may overindulge and put themselves or their family at risk. And drinking too much at the office party in front of co-workers can be embarrassing and career limiting. Getting into treatment means avoiding those temptations.
2. Delaying treatment prolongs suffering. Addiction can contribute to feelings of depression, hopelessness, apathy, lack of energy, exhaustion, loneliness and isolation. When individuals enter treatment, they feel empowered knowing they are taking steps toward improving their health. The mental fog clears, the brain and the body begin to heal, and authentic emotions return.
3. Delaying treatment carries health and safety risks. According to the Law Dictionary, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve bring a surge in DUI arrests and alcohol-related fatal crashes. If the drug of choice is an opioid, including prescription pain pills, fentanyl and heroin, use of these substances carries a high risk of death from overdose – no matter if it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other day. Between 2013 and 2016, opioid overdoses in the six-county Chicago area nearly doubled from 687 to 1,321, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. Getting into treatment means avoiding becoming a statistic.
4. Despite what the greeting cards and holiday TV specials depict, the holidays can be sad and stressful. This time of year is supposed to be filled with picture perfect tables with feasts and loving families gathered around the fireplace, right? Real life and real families are more complicated than that, and the holidays have a way of bringing up tensions, old wounds and simmering arguments. As people age, the holidays can also make people feel nostalgic for the past, and sad for the loved ones no longer with them. For people who are struggling with substance abuse or co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, the emotions that come with the holiday season can be especially triggering. Entering drug and alcohol rehab is a form of self-care, and can give people the support they need to get through the holiday season. When people enter treatment, they also become part of a community of supportive and encouraging peers who are on a similar journey, alleviating feelings of loneliness.
5. Recovery is the greatest gift of all. Breaking free of the hold of alcohol and drugs, regaining control over one’s own life and choices, being able to fully experience and enjoy family and friends, recovery is the gift that keeps on giving. To truly start 2018 off right, begin your recovery now.