A new year is just around the corner us, and with it comes a long list of resolutions that most people make.
“New Year’s resolutions” have long been associated with the cessation of bad habits and the start of a new way of life; for addicts and alcoholics, it seems like an ideal date to put down the drink and the drugs and start fresh. That’s not always wise, however.
For one thing, setting Jan. 1 as some magical date, a page on the calendar that holds more power than all of the others, and deciding that then and only then can we turn over a new leaf can set us up for failure. What makes Jan. 1 any more special or powerful than Jan. 2, or Jan. 3, or June 13, for that matter?
Nothing — it’s just another day. And when it comes to making a decision to seek help for addiction, there’s no time like the present, as the old saying goes. In fact, it makes more sense to get help now, before the chaos and craziness of the holiday season gets into full swing, than it does to wait until Jan. 1. Consider:
• The holidays are perilous times for addicts and alcoholics already. According to a study published in the Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, there’s a marked increase in drinking between Thanksgiving and Christmas between young adults, meaning that problem drinkers are at even greater risk during the holiday season. In addition, the rate of alcohol-related fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, jumps from 36 per day to 45 around Christmas and 54 around New Year’s — a warning sign for those who drink and use and get behind the wheel.
• Holiday stress increases dramatically during the Christmas season. Office parties, family gatherings and nights out with friends increase the exposure to drugs and alcohol, and those who are already struggling can find themselves unable to control their impulses to use even more heavily.
• If you have insurance, you can take advantage of a number of year-end financial savings. If you’ve used health insurance at all during the year, you’ve probably paid money toward your deductible; taking advantage of treatment before year’s end allows you to meet your deductible before it resets on Jan. 1. If you have a Flexible Spending Account that doesn’t carry over, you can use those funds as well; in addition, many health insurance plans change come Jan. 1, so behavioral and mental health coverage, which pays for treatment, may not be the same if you wait until the new year.
• The people in your life are often more understanding during the holidays — employers are more generous with time off, family members are more willing to assist with your financial and personal obligations, and your recovery may well be the best gift that you can give them. Knowing you’re safe and getting better over the holidays eases their minds and gives them hope.
• More importantly, treatment during the holidays is the best gift you can give to yourself. You may not have a dime to spend on family members or yourself this holiday season, but you can call and get the help you need to start your life anew.
You don’t need to wait until Jan. 1 to change; if you have the willingness, we have the hope. Call Cornerstone of Recovery today, and begin your journey now.