NEW BEGINNINGS DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON
Christmas is far more than just another day, especially if you are living with an addiction or coping with someone who is negotiating one, says Jared Elliott, national marketing manager at the specialist recovery centre, Choose Life.
He points out that, even under normal circumstances, living with any of the conditions with which Choose Life deals is stressful. During the festive season, the pressure is ramped up.
Depression, anxiety, stress and trauma are exacerbated when family time is the norm and losses and dysfunctional relationships can be amplified. For those dealing with addiction, substance-related and co-occurring conditions, the plentiful supply of alcohol and related substances is challenging. For those with eating disorders, pressure to consume large amounts of food can be daunting. It’s also holiday and party time, putting those with behavioural addictions such as gambling increasingly in harm’s way.
“Of late, times have changed and challenges are more than ever before. The impact of COVID-19 continues to have a huge ripple effect on the economy, jobs, family, and, most importantly, you. Add to that the tough economy, the rising cost of living and the stresses of load shedding and you have the perfect storm,” he explains.
Even those who have conquered an addiction can find the festive season particularly challenging, Elliott says.
“The holiday season could be a time when one feels alone and isolated, a time when you are ultra-aware of all that you lost using drugs and alcohol. For many, New Year’s celebrations hold more than just a countdown into the new year. Anxiety and depression peak with all the memories this time can hold,” he continues.
According to Elliott, many research papers have been written documenting significant increases in anxiety and stress over the festive holiday period. A leap in destructive behaviour associated with addictions is therefore inevitable.
However, the best barometer that all is not well is for people to listen to their own feelings and react accordingly.
Many just wish to get away during this high stress festive period and he suggests that this might not just be a convenient escape but actually a constructive way to move forward. It’s a good time for people to accept that they cannot cope and to seek professional advice. After all, the Latin origin of the word ‘rehab’ means “to make fit”.
Riverview Manor in the tranquil KwaZulu-Natal Midlands could be the perfect place to relax, unwind and take that first step in the journey to recovery, he suggests.
“When something falls into disrepair and needs to be restored to a better condition, it needs rehabilitation. With so much giving this month, why not spoil yourself in a place where you can breathe? Imagine a landscape with a stunning mountain range, surrounded by a professional family with plenty of love and acceptance. You can take a breath as you relax in a haven away from those everyday stresses. Work and finance can be packed away and moved far from your new tree of life.”
Those who cannot head to the country and need to stay in the city can find a haven at the Choose Life facility in the heart of Durban, he adds.
“Our highly trained professional team gives each person the individual attention and care needed to initiate and maintain successful change using a multidisciplinary approach with includes psychiatrists, general practitioners, psychologists, a dietician, and occupational therapists. Reaching out for professional help would be the best gift that you can give yourself or someone you love,” Elliott concludes.