T’is the Season to be Merry?

Tis The Season to Be Merry?

We have now entered December and people’s thoughts are turning to Christmas. Images of family gatherings around the Christmas turkey for a traditional Christmas dinner, laughter, presents, cheer and goodwill to all.

However, for many individuals and families out there, this picture does not run true. For them, Christmas is one of the most stressful times of year that introduces distress, depression, conflict, and overindulgent behaviours that later turn into chaos. Christmas comes with high expectations that many of us are not able to live up to. For those who have recently lost a loved one, Christmas can intensify feelings of grief and sadness. Many others experience feelings of isolation and financial pressures. Others get depressed because Christmas appears to be a trigger to engage in excessive self-reflection and rumination about the perceived inadequacies of their lives in comparison to other people who seem to have more, do more, and achieved more.

This stress can be even more intensified especially for families that have members that are actively abusing drugs and/or alcohol. For these families, the thought of managing their loved one’s alcohol or drug issues while trying to maintain any level of stability in front of friends and families is a nightmare. Especially as many of those abusing drugs and alcohol will use the season as an excuse to enable their use under the banner of “celebrating” and when challenged they will fall back on the other parties not embracing the holiday spirit, being a Grinch or a party pooper.

Unfortunately drinking to excess is almost encouraged at this time of year, giving people carte blanche to drink themselves into a blissful oblivion where they don’t feel or care anymore. But the anaesthetic is short-lived, and, in its place, it leaves fatigue, shame, guilt and in many cases a trail of disaster and destruction and an ocean of regrets. For those already with drug and alcohol problems, it is an altogether more dangerous time, offering increased temptation and the risks of overdose.

While residential rehab might not sound like the best place to spend Christmas, for many it is an invaluable shelter from the pressures and temptations of the outside world and could be the greatest ever Christmas present to family and friends. It offers clients the structure and discipline they often lack.  Furthermore, if residential rehab is a real possibility then if you are going to do it why not do it in Barbados?

Even at Christmas clients have a packed timetable during their stay, including a range of therapies and internal and external activities aimed at improving their physical, psychological and social well-being. Clients have access to 24-hour nursing and the opportunity of on-site medical detox. All clients are encouraged to maximise their physical health by use of the pool, gym, private tennis court, golf and a range of water sports. Strong Hope continues to offer its family programme to all its clients in treatment over Christmas and is happy to explore family members residing in our on-site Villa to enable this.

Now is a good time to start having conversations with loved ones and even if residential rehab is not an option then at least you have reached out and showed you care.

In a 2016 pole for Samaritans, nearly half of people questioned said they hide their real feelings at Christmas to keep other people happy.

The Samaritans have provided some great tips If you’re worried about someone and don’t know how to start a difficult conversation so please click here.

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