Have you thought about drug rehab for Christmas?
No, not you personally — although there are worst places you could spend the holiday (like jail, for instance). We’re talking about for you moms and dads and siblings and spouses who have come to dread this time of year because what should be calm and bright is anything but, thanks to the alcohol or drug problem afflicting a loved one.
So let’s say there’s an addict or an alcoholic in your family, and you don’t want to exclude them from the holiday festivities, but you have no idea what to get them. Cash will go toward their habits, most likely. Tools and trinkets and even clothes will likely be returned to the store or taken to the pawn shop and swapped for cash in order to feed their habits. A meal or a tank of gas, while generous and caring, can also enable them to put more energy and resources toward — you guessed it — their habits.
So why not drug rehab for Christmas? We’ve got five reasons why it’s a gift you should at least consider offering to someone in your life who struggles with alcohol and drugs.
Drug Rehab for Christmas: It’s the End of the Year
Addiction and alcoholism treatment costs money, and even if you have private or commercial health insurance through an employer — or even if your loved one does — there are still deductibles and co-pays to think about. According to the financial website The Motley Fool, “your deductible is the amount of spending required before your insurer begins to pay for any covered services. For example, if your policy has a $1,000 deductible, you will not have your medical bills covered by your insurance until after you have spent $1,000 total on healthcare that your insurer counts toward your deductible.” However, the website goes on to point out: “Your deductible resets each year, either at the anniversary date of when you got the policy or at the start of the calendar year.”
If you or your loved one has already met your deductible for this calendar year, then getting that person into a drug and alcohol treatment center before year’s end almost feels like a bargain: The only payment you’re liable for is the percentage of care that you’re insurance plan doesn’t cover. (With most private health insurance plans, substance abuse treatment coverage by the carrier is anywhere from 60 percent to 80 percent of the total cost.)
In addition, if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can take advantage of whatever money you have left in it to pay toward your co-insurance expenditures. According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, “unlike Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, which allow you to roll over pretax dollar savings from one year to the next, FSAs have a shelf life. Typically you need to fully spend the account by year’s end or you’ll lose the money left over. On average, people forfeit about $120 each year, says Jody Dietel, chief compliance officer at San Mateo, Calif.-based WageWorks, which administers employer-based tax advantaged accounts.”
In other words — you might have money sitting around in an FSA or even an HAS … you may have already met your deductible … and while a residential inpatient addiction or alcoholism treatment stay will stretch into January, up-front costs can be deducted as soon as your loved one arrives at a reputable drug and alcohol treatment center, which means your out-of-pocket expenditures before the calendar year ends are lower. To that end, drug rehab for Christmas almost sounds like a bargain!
They Need Help … And So Do You
Addiction is a family disease, meaning that while addicts and alcoholics may love to say they’re hurting no one but themselves, that’s not exactly true. An August 2017 study by Pew Research Center “found that 46% of U.S. adults say they have a family member or close friend who is addicted to drugs or has been in the past.” In addition, a 2009 study in the journal Addiction showed that “family members were more likely to be diagnosed with substance use disorders, depression and trauma than diabetes or asthma family members.”
Addiction and alcoholism are family diseases, because while only one individual may be directly suffering from the consumption of those substances, they affect everyone around them emotionally and even physically. If you’re a parent, spouse, child or sibling of an addict or alcoholic who’s even considering giving drug rehab for Christmas to a loved one struggling with those substances, then you know full well the toll their problems have taken on you. The holiday season has gone from being a time of good cheer to one of dread, because you never know if the individual about whom you’re concerned is even going to show up, or what kind of shape they’ll be in if they do.
Getting that individual the gift of drug rehab for Christmas addresses the problem directly: It gives them a place to go to address the issues that drive them to continue drinking and using in spite of negative consequences, and it gives you room to breathe so that you can begin your own healing process. That may involve family therapy — a reputable drug and alcohol treatment center will offer family therapy sessions as part of its treatment regimen, and taking advantage of that is one way to begin mending fences that have been destroyed by alcohol and drugs.
In addition, you may find that you need outside assistance in dealing with feelings of rage, depression, guilt or disappointment — and that’s where programs like Al-Anon, designed specifically for family members, can come in. Regardless of what route you choose to pursue to get better, separating yourself from the individual who’s at the center of those problems can do you both a world of good.
Drug Rehab for Christmas: It Could Literally Be a Lifesaver
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, “an estimated 19,416 individuals died of a drug overdose in the United States in the first 3 months of 2020 compared with 16,682 in the same 3-month period in 2019.” Based on those provisional numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), journal writers continued, “the United States is on track to reach a new all-time record for overdose fatalities within a calendar year. Most states experienced increases in the rate of overdose deaths during the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, with 7 states (plus the District of Columbia) experiencing increases ranging from 25% to 50% from March 2019 to March 2020.”
In other words: More drug users are dying this year than in years past, and the chances of your loved one becoming a statistic are greater than ever before. On top of that, the CDC estimates that “excessive alcohol use is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths in the United States each year, or 261 deaths per day.” Just because your loved one prefers beer to heroin doesn’t mean that his or her life isn’t in danger. Yes, there’s plenty of health concerns going around these days given the rapidly growing rate of COVID-19 infections, and those concerns shouldn’t be minimized. However, getting treatment for a drug or alcohol problem could literally be a matter of life and death.
With that in mind, drug rehab for Christmas might just be the best gift you could get the addict or alcoholic in your life.
It Doesn’t Fix Everything … But It’s a Start
It’s important to understand that if you choose to give a gift of drug rehab for Christmas, that doesn’t mean this problem that’s caused so much pain to you and your family members will magically disappear. Drug and alcohol treatment is the first step toward a new way of life that often takes time and effort, and while you may be willing and eager to address that problem, your loved one may be more reluctant.
However, it’s important to consider what, exactly, treatment does. For one, it provides a safe, comfortable way to medically detox from alcohol and drugs. Many addicts and alcoholics continue to use and drink long after they want to stop because they don’t know how to quit without causing themselves extreme physical discomfort. Alcohol and drugs cause physiological changes in the brain, and when an individual stops the use of those substance, it can cause quite a bit of discomfort — even, in some cases, life-threatening side effects.
The first stage of a treatment journey is to help them stop by removing those substances from their systems. However, the recovery process is about so much more than just stopping the use of alcohol and drugs. After all, if simply quitting was the answer, then individuals who are afflicted could put them down, get through the withdrawal and never pick them up again. However, because the use of those substances is often wrapped up in all sorts of emotional, mental, physical and even spiritual issues, those issues must be dealt with in order to establish a foundation of abstinence.
And that’s where effective drug and alcohol treatment comes in. A reputable treatment center provides evidence-based psychotherapies to help those individuals replace poor coping skills, address unresolved trauma, deal with grief and build a support system that will sustain them after they leave. Often, alcoholics and addicts discover that the substances they consume are only a symptom of a much bigger problem, and through a combination of peer support, group therapy, one-on-one counseling and numerous other therapeutic processes, they begin to unravel those larger issues, deal with them and set the stage for a life that’s better than they, or you, could possibly imagine.
Drug Rehab for Christmas: They Deserve It … and So Do You
Despite the anger, frustration and helplessness you may feel regarding a drug or alcohol problem that your loved one has, and the drama and damage that has spilled over from their lives to the rest of the family, it’s important to keep in mind: They’re not bad people who need to be good; they’re sick people who need to get better, and the gift of drug rehab for Christmas can provide that.
Dr. Jillian Hardee, writing for the University of Michigan, puts it plainly: “Addiction does not occur because of moral weakness, a lack of willpower or an unwillingness to stop. This finding stems from decades of work investigating the effects of substance use on the brain.
“The first time individuals drink or take drugs, they do so voluntarily, and they believe they can control their use. With time, more and more alcohol or drugs are needed to achieve the same level of pleasure and satisfaction as when they first started. Seeking out and taking the substance becomes a near-constant activity, causing significant problems for them and their family and friends. At the same time, progressive changes in the brain drive the compulsive, uncontrollable drug use known as addiction.
When this happens, individuals can no longer voluntarily choose to not use drugs or alcohol, even if it means losing everything they once valued.”
That may be a difficult concept to understand, given that addiction and alcoholism causes those who suffer to make poor decisions that often go against what you may feel are the moral guidelines that your family follows. And acknowledging it as a disease doesn’t, in any way, absolve them from the need to clean up the damage they’ve caused.
In fact, that’s part of the recovery process, albeit one that comes with time and work. Labeling addiction and alcoholism a disease is not a “get-out-of-consequences free” card; rather, it’s a starting point to help them, and you, understand that their brains have been altered by the drugs and alcohol they can’t put down, and that recovery — through a foundation laid at a drug and alcohol treatment center — is just the first step in putting their lives back together again and becoming the family member they want to be and the one you fear, when things seem darkest, is lost forever.
They’re not, and giving them the gift of drug rehab for Christmas may be the turning point that returns them to you. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a start … for them, and for the family that loves them and misses them this holiday season. There are numerous methods to broach the subject, up to and including an intervention, but the best place to start is to gather information — on what you're dealing with, and the best facility you can find at which to get your loved one the help they need.
Feel free to call and ask questions, find out more information about the admissions process and explore the websites of any and all choices, so that when it's time to give your "gift," you've got the place picked out that will offer them a fresh start and you your first breath of fresh air in a long time.