There is strong evidence that the rate of alcohol consumption, drug use and their respective consequences all spike during times of celebration. According to the National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology in Australia, the use of cocaine and ecstasy increased in urban, semirural and vacation areas between December 23 and January 3, while cannabis and methamphetamine use also increased in urban areas specifically. In addition, the most recent data from the National Safety Council reported that an estimated 42 percent of driving-related fatalities at the end of year were the result of drinking.
Joseph Lee, M.D., the medical director for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s youth services, explained these trends by stating, “For many, the holidays are not a joyous time of the year, but rather a season filled with loneliness, anxiety, self-doubt and unachievable expectations that can result in serious consequences for individuals and families struggling with addiction issues.”
Becoming another statistic does not need to be the fated future for those in recovery. David Sack, M.D., and Sarah Benton both recommend a number of new and sober traditions for individuals to establish some well-needed structure during the holidays:
Continuing through the path of recovery is hopeful for people who stay resilient. An eight-year study of almost 1,200 addicts illustrated that less than half of all individuals who reached a year of sobriety relapsed, while less than 15 percent of those who reached five years resumed their addictive behavior. If you or a loved one is struggling with a life without substance use, contact Sovereign Health through our 24/7 helpline for immediate aid and support.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer