It’s December—the season of holidays for most Americans.
New Year’s is around the corner, a time of fresh starts and enthusiastic resolutions. “I’ll start [dieting, exercising, meditating, budgeting, etc.] after the holidays,” many of us think, not wanting to “spoil” the time with family or miss out on opportunities for indulgence. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction to alcohol or drugs, you might have the same attitude: why enter treatment now, when it means you’ll miss the holidays at home? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait for the New Year?
Consider the following reasons to enter rehab now—before the holiday season is in full swing.
1. You’ll avoid opportunities to use at a time when stress can trigger the need for escape.
Everyone knows that holidays are not always the uplifting, joyous occasions that we want them to be. Holiday preparation and scheduling cause stress, and parties with friends, family, and coworkers all offer excuses to indulge. The holidays also make many people feel lonely, exacerbating the pain of being single, childless, or estranged from loved ones. If you enter into addiction treatment early in the season, you’ll avoid these triggers and be surrounded by caring counselors and staff members who can help you work through the painful, complicated emotions.
2. You’ll give yourself and your family a more relaxing holiday.
If you are suffering from addiction, you already know that you don’t have the emotional capacity to participate in holiday cheer. The stress and pain you feel affects your loved ones. Whether you are using heavily or trying to hide your use (and suffering through withdrawal until you can be alone and use again), you are not doing yourself or anyone else any good.
Entering treatment during this time is an act of profound self-care and profound generosity. You are giving yourself a break from the pain and guilt of not being who you want to be—and you’re giving your loved ones a break from the worry and stress they feel about you. Your loved ones will probably agree that taking care of yourself is the best gift you could give them.
3. You won’t miss the holidays just because you’re in treatment.
Most quality treatment programs celebrate holidays and do their best to help residents feel the warmth and generosity of the season. Decorations, special meals, and events like caroling or gift-making will help you participate in the holidays. If you come from a home where holidays have generated only bad memories, learning how to celebrate meaningfully with others may even feel redemptive. It may inspire you to create new, healthier family traditions when you return home.
Also, you won’t miss out on seeing your loved ones during this time. Families can visit you in treatment, and you’ll be more equipped to interact with each other from a place of sobriety and hope.
4. The timing is often ideal for school or work.
Most of us have more time off work or school this time of year, making it an ideal time to enter treatment. If you work in retail, the opposite might be true—this might be the most intense time of year, requiring the most overtime. If that intensity provides a healthy distraction for you, use that to your advantage. But if it adds to an already stressful season, consider whether the bigger paycheck is worth your health.
5. The timing is often better financially.
If your health insurance plan has a large deductible, chances are that you’ve already used most of it by November or early December. What better time to seek the treatment you know you need—when the cost will be fully covered by insurance?
6. The treatment center will probably be less busy than usual.
Since many people choose not to enter treatment during the holidays, treatment centers are not at full capacity. The more relaxed atmosphere will allow for greater attention from staff and a more intimate bond with the other residents.
7. You’ll have a jump start on the New Year.
Entering treatment now will mean that you are sober by the time January arrives. You can enter the New Year with a clear head, a healthier body, and a network of resources to support your continued recovery. When the next holiday season comes, you’ll have a year of sobriety under your belt and be better equipped to create meaningful—and sober—traditions with family and friends.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please consider contacting Twin Lakes Recovery Center and speaking to an admissions counselor. We will help you celebrate the holiday—and your decision to begin a journey of recovery.