Although the upcoming holidays are typically filled with laughter, cheer, and good will, they can, for some, be riddled with anxiety and stress due to family and other financial strains. For those struggling with addiction and recovery from alcohol and drugs these stressful times can seem amplified. From family dynamic issues to seasonal parties with a lot of alcohol around, the season ahead with shortened daylight hours can bring on light-deprived depression making it more difficult for the addict to get by without desiring a route of escape through the bottom of a bottle.
So, what can someone do who is has possibly just graduated from an alcohol detox or an alcohol and drug treatment center? The most common question in stressful times, holidays or otherwise is “Won’t having a few drinks cut the edge off my stress?”
Well, the answer is ‘No.’ According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism there is a direct trigger from alcohol that releases stress hormones from the brain, pituitary and adrenal glands. Drinking would actually create more stress internally than not drinking.
Another question might be, “What can I do to cope with stress if alcohol and drugs are not the answer?”
The resounding answer would be to Get Rest. Get plenty of rest. Getting enough rest during the holidays by planning ahead and having downtime is like preventative medicine. However, sleeping can be easier said than done, so find some meditation cd’s or stop by a health food store for some aromatherapy or other natural relaxation oils or tablets. Giving yourself the time to unwind through exercise, massage, knitting, or anything that will focus you on a calming, repetitive, and meditative routine is what will truly work.
Remember, the holidays are for love, laughter and cheer, so be sure to surround yourself with that sort of energy always.