The coronavirus pandemic is gripping more people, and experts say it is possible to stay sober during the Christmas season by focusing on, understanding, and planning the most common triggers. So if you want to go on holiday solemnly during a pandemic, you can do your part for the health and well-being of your family – being, they say.
People have high expectations for a picture-perfect holiday. That alone creates a very challenging time of year for so many, says Dr. John D. Schmitt, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He says that people experience extra stress over the Christmas period to spend money on gifts, spending time with family members with whom relationships can be strained, or wanting to make things better for others.
The Importance of Human Connection
This year could be adding to the stress of not seeing loved ones over the holidays and finding a way around the new normal, as virtual ones replace people’s visits. Addiction is a disease of isolation, and just because you are socially remote doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolated.
With the pandemic, many people feel increasingly lonely, which can trigger the urge to drink. Not seeing the people you are talking about can cause anxiety and depression, and other mental health problems.
Many people underestimate the importance of human connection and don’t understand why they feel increasingly agitated. That means if you’re looking for a friend or family member, the connection is crucial. Many believe social distancing exacerbates those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.
It’s possible to talk to someone in person, but it’s essential to speak to them in general. The distance can also be an obstacle when friends or family members struggle with sobriety, whom you would usually talk to if they weren’t drunk. There are ways to connect with people to become socially isolated, whether through phone calls, FaceTime, or texts.
Some people love tradition, but others find it stressful, and just because alcohol is not on the menu does not mean that you cannot participate. When you go to someone else’s house, “you don’t necessarily have to be the hostess; you can choose to bring a cake or some other Christmas candle or be there to show how much you’re there.
If you don’t want to drink alcohol, try to always have a few soft drinks on hand, Fors says. There are many pale beers, wines, and spirits, and no one offers you drinks. Don’t assume you can’t eat anything else you usually enjoy during the holidays, such as cookies and sweets.
Reports state alcohol sales have increased massively since the start of the pandemic. Some bars have closed, so it makes sense for people to buy alcohol for their use.
Women drink dramatically more than men, statistics show, and there’s so much going on this year. According to the Australian National University, the number of coma drinkers – coma drinkers and women who drink daily – increased by 41% during a session defined by four or more drinks.
When you think of stressors, you think of going home, sending your children to school, and losing friends and family support. Sometimes people successfully use so-called dry January, a 30-day holiday in which you give up alcohol to cut back on your drinking. Four years ago, Sheinbaum decided to try dry January and has since gone home.
While months of sobriety can prepare a person for a healthier year, Fors warns that the pandemic has created a downside for those trying to reach it.
The CDC has data showing that 41% of adults in the pandemic are at least one major depressive disorder or anxiety disorder. That’s why it’s so important to get to each other now.
Support groups, including the AA, also offer online meetings, often around the clock, and a 24-hour hotline. According to the CDC, about 80% of people who stay sober during online treatments remain at some level of outpatient services.
When you’re struggling with mental health issues like anxiety or depression, it’s essential to know that it’s okay to get out.
Humans are not bad people, it just means that we are ill and need help, and if we forget professional service and relapse in recovery, it is terrible for us.