Surviving Xmas

 

Surviving Xmas – The Last Hurrah

Wouldn’t be great if your loved decided that the best thing they could do for themselves and their family and friends is to get clean and sober for Xmas?

However, the reality is that in most cases this is not likely to happen. The chances of them having a light bulb moment before New Year’s Eve and deciding to pitch up at their local drug and alcohol centre or check into rehab is as much likely as the UK government sorting out Brexit before March 29th.

Whether their substance of choice is alcohol or drugs the reality is that they are going to blast their way over the Xmas and New Year’s Eve like a tornado blowing through your living room and probably creating as much damage in their wake.

One of the most commonly held thoughts is that most people drinking alcohol at harmful and hazardous levels or using drugs are in denial. In other words, they have an unwillingness to accept that their drinking or their use of drugs is creating problems. However, I am going to be controversial here and say that for the majority of people I don’t believe this is true!

In fact, I openly would like for people that are drinking at these levels or using drugs or have done so in the past and are now sober to post their comments and experiences challenging this.

I think that it is very convenient to suggest that those drinking at harmful and hazardous levels or using drugs are wandering through life with no self-awareness of what they are doing to themselves or others, or oblivious to the problems they are causing due to their use.

  • The numerous meetings with their bosses about performance issues
  • The number of sick days taken to being strung out or hung over
  • The number of arguments with partners, wives, husbands etc. about their drug taking or alcohol use
  • The number of times they have ended up in risky situations as a result of being drunk or high
  • The number of times they have got involved in risky behaviours as a result of being drunk or high
  • The number of times they have embarrassed themselves, and others, as a result of their drunken or drugged actions and behaviour

I don’t believe that at some level there is no self-awareness that the above issues are linked to their drug or alcohol use.

 

However

I do believe that there is an unwillingness to do something about their drink and drug use, for a whole host of reasons.

I do believe that there is an unwillingness to accept, for a whole host of reasons, the magnitude of what they are doing to themselves and others.

I do believe there is an unwillingness to accept that they may be addicted/dependent because, in their mind, they do not fit their profile of an addict. The affected individual is likely to be aware that he or she drinks more than they should but do, or is maybe using cocaine, cannabis, ketamine etc. regularly and probably in ever increasing doses but does not see themselves as being addicted/dependent to alcohol or drugs. To them, an addict/dependent is someone who drinks all day, every day starting with a drink first thing in the morning or someone who is homeless and drinking in the street. Alternately it is someone injecting heroin or smoking crack.

However, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD -11) criteria of dependence mentions none of these but does say addiction/dependence is characterised by:

  1. Impaired control over substance use—in terms of the onset, level, circumstances or termination of use, often but not necessarily accompanied by a subjective sensation of urge or craving to use the substance.
  2. Substance use becomes an increasing priority in life such that its use takes precedence over other interests or enjoyments, daily activities, responsibilities, or health or personal care. Substance use takes an increasingly central role in the person’s life and relegates other areas of life to the periphery. Substance use often continues despite the occurrence of problems.
  3. Physiological features (indicative of neuroadaptation to the substance) as manifested by (i) tolerance, (ii) withdrawal symptoms following cessation or reduction in the use of that substance or (iii) repeated use of the substance (or pharmacologically similar substance) to prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Solutions

Fortunately for people with drink and drug issues post New Year’s Eve celebrations do often bring about the light bulb moment.

There is now a willingness to accept the magnitude of what they are doing to themselves and others.

There is now a willingness to do something about their drink and drug use.

And for some, there is even a willingness to accept that they may be addicted/dependent

This is then the time to strike while the iron is hot and get them in touch with drug and alcohol services.

The staff at Strong Hope are available all over Xmas and into the New Year to discuss treatment options so please use the various options on our contact page to reach out to us.

For those in recovery please also look at our friends at Recovery Plus 12 page pull out guide on how to survive Xmas and the New Year as there are some great tips in here.

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