Surviving the Holidays

The Holiday seasons can be very stressful for many people. It is generally considered to be a time to get together with family and friends. You may feel that you don’t have people who want to hear from you. In all likelihood, the Holidays are probably the best time to make contact with people from your past. Generally speaking, Holidays are when people are at their most giving. It is a time to reflect on the past, and reach out to those you haven’t seen in a while. It is a time to be kind to those less fortunate than yourself.  A time to help and treat others with kindness. If you feel that you are going to be alone during the Holidays, maybe it would be a good idea to reach out, and reestablish contact with people that you care about from your past.

If you really don’t have anyone you would like to reconnect with, and feel rather lonely, then there are plenty of ways you can fill the void.  Sitting at home thinking about how miserable your life is is a recipe for disaster.  Instead, tackle the Holidays head on and get involved.  There are plenty of ways you can meet people and help others at the same time.  Food Banks, Street Missions, the United Way, the YMCA, and many more organizations are all places that really need volunteers to help during the Holidays.  Give it a try.  You will feel good about yourself, you will feel the Holiday spirit, and you will help other people feel better as well.  You may even meet a new friend.

Hopefully, the people you would like to reconnect with are non users.  The Holidays can be a time when people get together and have a few drinks or other substances.  Often, people let loose, and have a few too many, or reignite an old pattern of substance use.  In this way, the Holidays can be a dangerous time for many people.  Drinking while you are on Methadone can be lethal.  You can actually die from going to bed drunk while on methadone.  Please be careful. It would be best if you don’t drink it all. If you do, keep it to one or two drinks maximum. You will notice that the alcohol hit you harder when you’re on methadone than when you’re not. And if you find yourself having had too many, make sure you are not alone, and you stay up until you sober up. People do care about you and want to see you again.  I’m sure you know this, but the same goes for benzos.  And more than doubly so for using both benzos and alcohol together.

Hard drugs can be quite dangerous as well.  If you go back to an old drug, your tolerance will be much lower than it was when you were actively using.  Many deaths in opiate users happen when they have been clean for a while and start up again with old friends at their old dose.  It is easy to overdose when you have not used in a while.

Make the most of your Holidays. Rediscover the things and people that make you happy. And please be careful to not get back into old patterns that have given you trouble in the past.

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