5 Reasons the Holidays Are the Perfect Time to Get Treatment

By The Fix staff 12/14/21

Start the new year right by getting the help you need at the end of 2021.

Image: 
Sad woman on couch in front of Christmas tree

The holiday season is officially here in the United States. Although the holidays are meant to be full of joy and celebration, there’s a darker side to the holidays as well. They can bring up repressed feelings of disconnection, disappointment or angst. Constant social engagements — usually fueled by an open bar — can highlight problematic drinking or substance abuse patterns. For people who are struggling, this can be a recipe for disaster. However, it can also present an opportunity to get substance abuse treatment.

Considering rehab during the holidays might seem grim, but the truth is that the holiday season can be the perfect time to step away and focus on getting yourself the care and support you need. Here’s why:

1. You can start the new year right.

This time of year it’s tempting to postpone all self-improvement until January 1. It’s true that the new year provides a tantalizing starting point for healthier habits. But if you start treatment now, you’ll be through the more difficult parts — like withdrawal — before 2022 rolls around. You’ll feel invigorated, starting the new year with a clear head, healthy body and clean slate. Hit the ground running in 2022 by being in a positive place, rather than in the tough spot of early recovery.

2. It’s the best gift you can give.

Many people have hang-ups about leaving their friends and family, or missing important events during the holiday season. And yet, getting sober and healthy is the most important gift that you can give. Those closest to you, like your children and partner, will benefit the most from having you at your best. Sure, they might miss you in the moment during holiday celebrations, but the tradeoff is that they will have you home, healthy and present for the rest of the year. That’s a gift anyone will appreciate.

3. It allows you to focus on the real meaning of the holidays.

For all their perks, the holidays are also an unhealthy time for many people. Many of us slip into patterns of excess: eating too much, partying too much and spending too much. That takes away from the true meaning of the holidays. Many of the celebrations that take place in December focus on light after darkness, rebirth, and rejuvenation. Getting treatment for yourself is the perfect way to lean into the true meaning of the holiday season, by getting through the dark time and into the light.

4. Schedules are more flexible during the holidays.

For many people, the month of December is far from routine. Most of us already have days off or travel planned. If you’re not comfortable being open about an absence from work or school for treatment, you can simply blame it on the holidays. People are less likely to notice or inquire about your absence during such a busy time of year.

For parents this might be especially complicated, since kids are home from school for half the month. However, that also gives you a chance to send them to stay with a favorite friend or family member, giving them a holiday treat and getting you some space.

5. It can keep things from getting worse.

It might seem easy to last until January if you need help. However, substance use disorder is a progressive disease. During the holidays, symptoms can get worse, especially if you’re navigating family triggers, work related holiday parties or even the stressors of having an Instagram-perfect holiday at home.

Rather than desperately trying to keep it together long enough to get through the holidays, opt to step back and get ahead of your substance use disorder. This year, many people will be reimagining holiday traditions as the country continues to live in the pandemic. That gives you an opening to make your own tradition, focused on self-care and wellness. This year, start to give yourself what you need during the holiday season: your self, your friends, and your family will all thank you for it.

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