There is a lot of excitement heading into the holidays. Typically, this time of year includes days off of work, visiting with friends and family, and to cap it all off, you are weeks away from embarking on a new year, which is always filled with hope. It is as if something in the air changes, causing everyone to be in a festive spirit.
Unfortunately, the holidays are also when signs of addiction begin to truly show themselves. Whether they emerge due to drinking or taking a substance as part of a holiday party, or to cope with the stresses of family, it is this typically festive time of year when addiction is at its worst.
If you are worried about yourself or a loved one suffering from an addiction this holiday season, below are telltale signs to look out for that may suggest addiction is present.
1- Do you ever use medication to get high? Do you take it in excess of label warnings and intend on taking more during the holiday season to deal with the pressures and stresses you feel about family?
2- Are you ashamed of your drinking? Are you dreading the holidays because you do not want your family to find out how much you consume? Are you planning on what lies to tell to throw your family and friends off your substance abuse trail?
3- Do you have to justify your drinking habits? Are you struggling to make it through a day, or a week without having a drink and instead, make an excuse as to why it is okay to drink “this time”?
4- Does a loved one find themselves in financial distress, even though they make plenty of money? Have they gone from always having plenty of money to asking you, or those around you, for a loan or hand out?
5- Do you want to quit using substances or drinking, but you can’t? Do you promise yourself that you will stop after the holidays?
6- Do you have regrets after using drugs or alcohol? Have you ever blacked out at a holiday party and woken up, ashamed of your behavior? Does your family anticipate that you will engage in inappropriate behavior during the holidays?
7- Have you added “drink less” or “do not take drugs” to your New Years Resolution list? Has it been on the list for a few years running? Are you worried that, like in years past, you will not be able to cross it off the list again this year?
8- Do you live in such a haze from using that you fear all DUI checkpoints during the holiday season, because you cannot tell whether or not you are sober or clean?
9- Has a friend or family member confronted you, telling you that you have a substance abuse problem? Have you been uninvited to family get-togethers or office work parties because of your issues? Have you come to dislike the holidays because you know you will hear from a friend or family member about your habits and you are tired of hearing about it?
10- Do friends or loved ones attempt to cover up their drinking or drug use? Are they constantly taking breath mints or putting on cologne? Have they abruptly begun to skip holiday parties?
11- Have you quit using before? Do you find yourself starting up again and again, only to continually quit?
12- Has the hygiene of someone you know taken an unforeseen hit? Has their teeth deteriorated? Are they no longer shaving or wearing clean clothes? Are they even aware this has begun to happen?
13- Do you know someone that cannot have a single celebratory drink without then having many? Do they claim they do not have an issue, but rather that it makes them feel better?
14- Do you ever suspect that the person you are concerned about is stealing pills from medicine cabinets? Has your medications gone missing? Are they constantly visiting new doctors to obtain prescriptions?
If you find that you are answering yes to the above questions for yourself or a loved one, there is no shame in asking for help. The holidays do not need to be a time to turn to substances to cope with anxieties and stresses. Take the opportunity of this New Year to help yourself or a loved one get a hold on their lives by entering a recovery treatment program.