As you can imagine, holiday sobriety is a hot topic right now. This is the time of year when many new temptations arise and the added stressors of COVID-19 quarantining certainly don’t help. On that note, famed publication The Chicago Tribune published a story front and center on their website; highlighting tips that can help people avoid drugs and alcohol during the month of December.
The Tribune article does a very nice job of breaking out some of the factors that lead people to use this time of year. The first call out is Stress, which comes with the holidays regardless of coronavirus concerns. Whether it’s trying to find the right gift or meeting an end of the year work deadline, there are certainly added stressors during the month of December. The article actually includes several calming techniques that can be applied during times of tension.
The second big call out mentioned by The Tribune is Loneliness. This one can be especially challenging for people struggling with sadness or depression. It is during this season that people may get down about being apart from family members or be mourning a lost loved one. As Betty Ford Foundation rep Melissa Fors explained in the piece, the isolation of quarantines certainly adds to the concern here.
“Addiction is a disease of isolation. Just because we’re socially distant doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated,” she explained. “This year in particular, I think that social distancing really exacerbates the mental health challenges for so many people, particularly those that are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol or those that are in recovery.”
Another point made by The Tribune is holiday Peer Pressure. This actually may dissipate a little in 2020, as in person holiday parties will not be as common. But Zoom celebrations and the like can certainly bring out cocktails and a yearning to drink because others are doing it.
Tradition is called out by The Tribune as well. If family members break open wine bottles every New Year’s, it may be hard to break away from that norm. But the article did offer tips on how to change the playing field and allow people to distance themselves from bad alcoholic habits.
“If you’re looking to not consume alcohol during Thanksgiving or Christmas or Hanukkah or any other festive holiday … you can certainly start breaking those traditions,” Fors concluded. “Start by saying, ‘Instead of our boozy eggnog, or the drink we get together and make every time, this year I’m going to make a hot peppermint cocoa.”