The holiday season is often one of the hardest times for individuals struggling with substance use, and getting help for loved ones during these times is an essential part of any recovery process. Not only is it crucial to encourage loved ones to seek treatment during the holidays, but also to stress how important it is to avoid prolonging treatment into the new year.

Holidays are a reasonably stressful and hectic time for anyone, yet we still typically see a decrease in inpatient admissions starting in November, as people don’t want to spend their holidays in residential treatment and away from loved ones. While there is some validity among this mindset, seeking treatment immediately will always be advised, as prolonging treatment can bring on detrimental consequences.

Reasons to Motivate Loved Ones to Avoid Substance Use During the Holidays

The winter months, especially holidays such as Christmas and New Years, are known for an increase in drug and alcohol consumption, and loved ones dealing with substance use are much more prone to relapse and other jeopardizing factors.

A survey performed by the American Addictions Center found that 29% of respondents drank more during the holiday season. While this may be brought on by celebratory acts, certain holiday stressors have been indicated to play a major role in this over-consumption. T​​he holidays are also the most dangerous times of the year for drug and alcohol-related deaths, with nearly 91,000 deaths having been reported during the month of December since 1999.

When You Know Someone You Love Needs Help

When a loved one is struggling with substance use or dependency, it’s only natural for family and friends to worry. These worries, however, often lead to a tendency for pleading, nagging, or preaching to that individual. Knowing the correct approach when you know someone you love needs help can ensure that your undivided support isn’t mistaken as something potentially more harmful than helpful.

When encouraging a loved one to seek help, some important factors to keep in mind include:

  • Demonstrating empathy – Though providing empathy may be the last thing you want to do as a result of anger or frustration, it’s necessary to remember that everyone makes decisions for themselves. Loved ones can provide this beneficial empathy by asking open-ended questions rather than making statements, keeping conversations generalized rather than accusatory, avoiding criticism, and demonstrating concern.
  • Encouraging responsibility – Encouraging responsibility is a fine balance between not helping, but also not hindering ways to get better. This balance allows individuals to not excuse a loved one’s detrimental behaviors, and to not soften the blow of the consequences that follow.
  • Using reason – Related to encouraging responsibility is the need to use reason when addressing a loved one. Radical reactions and over-concern can lead to backlash, and knowing a reasonable path to addressing these issues is key to providing a healthy balance.
  • Enlisting help – You should never feel completely responsible for motivating a loved one to seek treatment. Whether it’s attending local chapters with loved ones, considering a professional intervention, reaching out to a counselor or therapist, or contacting a substance use treatment specialist, are all plausible ways to bring more light to the issue at hand in an approachable manner.

Retreat Behavioral Health

Retreat Family is providing trusted resources for loved ones and individuals seeking treatment options for substance use. This includes support groups for loved ones, as well as private counseling sessions that can bring on better communication at home, and a healthier streamline of support.

For any questions or comments regarding our services, contact Retreat Family today.