Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays 3Happy Holidays folks. Yep, they are right around the corner. Thanksgiving is next week, then only a short month later, Christmas. Follow that up with New Years Eve. Party on Garth!

What is it about the holidays that makes us go utterly mad. We drink more, there is massive stress, we fight with parents, siblings and children.  Oh, yeah families.

The holidays suck. Times of anguish, strife, and overindulgent behavior that is later regretted. Times of Stress. For those of us for whom substances are a problem, we drunks and addicts, the holidays can really fuck us up.

Managing our lovely addicted minds amid stress and obvious unrelenting exposure to our favorite addictions is hell. The thought of managing substance issues while maintaining some semblance of sanity and the delusion that the holidays are a time of peace and unity are really overwhelming. As a matter of fact, when we mishandle all the crap that is ‘The Holidays’, it can make those addicted minds of ours go right into the fight or flight mode and we pick up a bottle or have a teener of meth delivered by our faithful dealer.

Then what happens is nothing less than adding gasoline to that crackling yule log. “Have you been drinking?” “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” “Your eyes look like two piss holes in the snow, you’ve been using again haven’t you?” “What have we told you about using in our house?”

Or worse, yes we do call our friend from Compton and spark up the yule tide crack pipe or smoke a little too much meth and we start becoming a little paranoid. A little drug induced psychosis is just what Uncle Charlie needs at his house during Thanksgiving dinner. How about a little dope to relieve you of some of that stress? And then there’s the alcohol. Don’t think I’ve ever been to a Christmas party where there wasn’t every kind of alcoholic beverage known to man.

Do not go to the office Christmas party if you’re trying to avoid alcohol. Now those who have enough recovery time under their belt might feel safe and indeed many of us might not have a problem. But for some, relapse is just a short time off when it comes to the holiday season.

Just what exactly are all the little things that can add up to big trouble?  Here’s a short list:

  • Boredom
  • Stress
  • Family members
  • Shopping (that creates more stress)
  • Relationships OTHER than family members
    • Friends
    • Roommates
    • Partners
  • Isolation
  • Cross Addiction and Dopamine Responses

Oh, and then there are the denial based thoughts we have.  Lies I’ve told myself. Boy are we EVER delusional. Here’s a little multiple choice questionnaire:

  • Just this one time…
  • Alcohol isn’t my Drug of Choice, why not drink?
    • Fill in the blank:
    • __________ isn’t my DOC, why not
      1. smoke some
      2. snort some
      3. slam some
  • It’s just Weed
  • Oh, those cross additions:
    • Gambling (even Lotto)
    • Christmas Shopping
    • Video games
    • (anti) Social Media
    • Smart Phones – DO NOT BE ANTI-SOCIAL!
    • (sorry for yelling…)
  • Then there’s ‘minimization’: At least I’m not doing:
    1. Heroin
    2. Meth
    3. Crack
  • So what the hell do we do?  How about some coping mechanisms?  Yeah, that’s it!  I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends as John and Paul wrote so long ago. Yes, go ahead, watch the Joe Cocker video and then wait for the next exciting episode of Lies I Told Myself and watch for some suggestions.  Since they came from one of the therapists in my IOP, I guess they might work for you, some of them work for me.  Get by, just don’t get high with a little help from your friends…