US Drug Test Centers Blog/News

Making Better Holidays for People with Addictions

Posted: Nov 02 2016

By: Jane Schwab

With the holidays coming, a group of celebrations back to back at the end of the year and are usually in line for most people all over the world. It is easy for most of us to ring in the New Year with an alcoholic beverage. But for people dealing with alcohol addictions, it's a trying time. For individuals who don't understand what it's like dealing with addictions or know people who are trying to handle their addictions don't know how important it is to make better holidays for people with substance abuse.

Alcohol addiction is a very serious illness that is a habitual psychological and physical dependency and once the property manifests within people there is usually no cure. Many people can counteract their addiction through treatment, but overall, they are caught up in their illness for the rest of their lives. Treatment for alcohol addiction can be intense, expensive, and there is no guarantee that it will work for each. Alcoholism can be treated more successfully if it is caught early on.

Healthcare professionals who are equipped to counsel can also coach friends and family of alcoholics. It's a good idea to take time reading literature about addiction and taking extra care around people who are suffering. Cultural conditioning surrounds us every day and inundates our lives through subtext, sublime infusion, and blanket marketing to attract us and make us want to purchase products. Advertisers have been using subliminal messages in commercials and photo advertising for years. While many of us are not directly affected by advertising, alcoholics are susceptible to images and information that we may otherwise think trivial or feel is meaningless entertainment.

When it comes to the holidays, alcoholic beverage companies will spend more money on advertising because it's a cultural phenomenon that more alcohol is consumed during holidays than at any other time of the year. A celebration is synonymous with alcohol consumption. People who go out after work or to clubs also use alcoholic beverages as social lubricants. Not only does alcohol consumption rise during the holidays so does domestic violence crimes and suicide rates, and both can also be attributed to consuming alcohol.

If you are truly interested in helping your friends and loved ones suffering from alcoholism during the holiday season, then you need to be hyper-vigilant and make personal sacrifices that ensure everyone can have a safe and healthy holiday. Much of what we take for granted during holidays can sometimes be triggers for alcoholics, and it is better not to make items available than to expect someone to resist the temptation for holiday cheer.

holiday cocktailMuch of our critical decision-making is affected by consuming alcoholic beverages. Not only are we emotionally compromised, our motor skills, and social etiquette will diminish long before there are other signs of physical intoxication. Before you are hosting a dinner party or attending an event, it would be a good idea to plan ahead. Never underestimate the power of even a small amount of alcohol and how it can affect someone suffering from alcoholism. People who are actively seeking treatment or have recently graduated from therapy and counseling are more vulnerable during the holidays than any other time of the year. Having a bottle of wine sitting on the dinner table during a family gathering is enough to remind the individual they have a drinking problem.

While we do not intentionally intend for someone to harm themselves, just the presence of alcoholic beverages is sometimes enough to trigger the physical and emotional attachment for some people. Be respectful and when you plan your event make sure there are no alcoholic beverages present during the holiday festivities. There are other ways to celebrate family and life without consuming alcoholic beverages. However, if there are people who insist they are not willing to join in the celebration because they are not going to be allowed to drink around family or friends suffering from alcoholism it may be a good idea to reevaluate that friendship.

Understand that alcohol is in many things we use for cooking. Cooking wines and pure vanilla are just a few items that have substantial amounts of alcohol. The United States Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Data Laboratory reports that cooking wine will retain a considerable amount of alcohol depending on the length of cooking time and heat applied. Many cooking wines have 14% alcohol by volume. If you are cooking for friends or family, be aware that pure vanilla extract has a substantial amount of alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration reports pure vanilla extract will have a minimum of 35% alcohol by volume and will have adverse effects on people suffering from alcoholism.

There are alternatives and substitutions for cooking and although you may think it is trivial and not important to change recipes based on the alcohol content you need to consider how introducing even trace amounts of alcohol into a person recovering from alcoholism will undo months and years of sobriety.

person kneading doughWhen making holiday plans, it is important that everything is addressed, including commercials on television. Since most holidays coincide with sporting events, advertisers are keen to promote alcoholic beverages through radio and television advertising. If you are conscious of the marketing gimmicks and want to help, make sure you change the channel or turn off the sports altogether. Even banners and billboards that line stadium walls are covered with alcoholic beverages advertising. Even a little alcohol can undo even the hardened alcoholic, and it's better to avoid it completely than expect someone to be tolerant of toasting or others around them socializing with alcoholic beverages.

A dry, alcohol-free holiday is something that many recovering alcoholics need. If you are truly trying to support your friends and family members dealing with alcoholism, then it is up to you to join the cause and not be part of the problem. Make efforts that minimize contact with alcoholic beverages. Do not even purchase non-alcoholic beer or sparkling cider if you want to help. Non-alcoholic beer is still an alcoholic stimulant, and sparkling cider is a visual reminder for many they are dealing with problems. If you want to help, you need to make sacrifices.


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