Four ways to prevent drug and alcohol abuse in the holidays


It is a sad reality that drug abuse and alcohol addictions do spike in the holidays. What are a few reasons for that – and are there any ways that we can assist those with drug or alcohol cravings to deal with them during this period?

This article gives four ways to prevent drug and alcohol cravings in the holidays, which we hope you will find helpful, but let’s firstly look at why we get this additional craving and abuse at this time of year…

Stress – As much as they try to fit in socially with family and friends, addicts or those in recovery may find this time of year so stressful that their condition becomes exacerbated. According to one report “Studies show that cases of depression, drunk driving accidents, suicide, even domestic violence all increase during the holiday period. Many of these are tied to alcohol and drug abuse by people who are trying to cope with holiday stress.”

Adrenaline – Adrenaline is a kind of drug itself and many high powered individuals in the business world literally run on their energy and the adrenaline rush they receive through challenge and hard work. When the adrenaline runs out it may need to be replaced by other stimulants and alcohol is a common one for this.

Family – As supportive as family can be, when suddenly faced with family being ‘in their face’ and around all the time, mild alcohol or drug users could turn to total dependency to just escape their scrutiny.

Fortunately family can also be very supportive at this time. Rather be sensitive to the situation and encourage these four ways to gently prevent compounded dependency.

Reduce cravings – Cravings can be at least reduced by eating sweet things and having sweet drinks. Sugar can pacify the need for alcohol and also helps reduce drug cravings (especially opiates). A little weight gain is a small price to pay to reduce substance abuse and alcohol dependency.

Reduce stress – The family should be mindful that this is a time that can be particularly stressful for the addict and avoid unnecessary arguments and discomfort. Rest, plenty of sleep and long walks with plenty fresh air are all good. Additional stress reduction can be achieved through listening to soothing music, quiet meditation, massage, exercise and deep breathing.

Reduce partying –Try to avoid too much revelry and when these times arise try to go with a friend or family member of sober habits, so you have some sober company. Have a clear path to escape if it gets too much for you – like making sure you don’t get parked in.

Alcohol alternatives – Something sweet, but not too sweet like fruit juice with soda, or bottled sparkling grape juice are good alternatives for the drinker. Also have fruit smoothies and try some of the non-alcoholic range of drinks.

Speak to caring professionals

As the family of those you only suspect of drug or alcohol abuse, look out for tell-tale signs in the holidays. We at Transformation Life Centre (TLC) in Sandton have excellent material on this and are always willing to talk, advise and share information with everyone in need.

With both in and outpatient programs, our rehabilitation centre employs passionate and devoted Christian staff who bring a wealth of personal and professional experience and knowledge to those in need. We are all fully committed to helping individuals with substance abuse characteristics and alcohol dependency.

We sincerely hope this article will help in the forthcoming holidays, but contact us immediately if substance abuse or alcohol addiction has become more than you can handle. We will always be there for you.

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