By Natalie Hope Mosqueda
Holidays are high relapse times for everyone. You’re bored, you see your old friends having fun online, it’s your tradition to get messed up every holiday, the list of excuses can grow infinitely. with the holiday season just around the corner, here are some tips on how I stay sober during the holiday season.
- I double up on my meetings. Holidays are stressful for me so I need to work extra hard on my recovery program to keep myself in check.
- Go to sober holiday events. Almost every recovery program has so many activities and events during the holidays. My thanksgiving always includes stopping in Rise Recovery and other recovery program’s meals.
- Spend time with my family, but know it’s okay to leave early. I love my family, they are wonderful and amazing people, who can also drive me a little nuts. Today, I can cherish the time I spend with them, but also leave when I am ready.
- Realize holidays aren’t as big as I make them out to be. It’s just another day to be grateful I woke up sober.
- Take it easy on myself. I know holidays are hard for me, and I plan for it. I do more myself during the holidays and take each day at a time.
The topic of opioid abuse and addiction has been a very visible part of the national conversation in recent months. If you haven’t been touched in some way by this insidious epidemic, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. If so, count yourself as fortunate — fortunate that someone you know as a parent, spouse, child, friend or co-worker hasn’t yet been caught in the destructive spiral of opioid addiction.
“The holidays have always been hard for me. I didn’t always have family at home to celebrate the holidays with, but I always had my friends and all the Rise Recovery staff to step in and make my holidays great! Today, because of them, my family can celebrate the holidays together again.”
“I love Rise Recovery. What you’ve done for my son, for his friends, for his mom and me. It’s nothing sort of a miracle. There is something very special going on with Rise, and it feels like God’s blessing. It’s beautiful. So, thank you. Thank you for all your hard work, for your heart, for your program director and the rest of your crew. I’m so grateful.”
As we all come to grips with the tragedy in Las Vegas, I would like to offer some advice on speaking with your children on the sensitive subject of violence in our society.
- Avoid repeatedly exposing your family to the events via social media, television and adult conversations. This can be re-traumatizing, especially for small children who are prone to believing that seeing it again on TV means it’s happening again in real life.
- It’s not necessary or helpful to force discussions around the event. Children are naturally inquisitive and intuitive. When they are ready for information, they will come to you or to another trusted adult. It is helpful to simply say, “I’m here if you want to talk about this.”
- Causal questions about the shooting are natural. If your children have questions about how and why this happened, answer only the questions they are asking and take caution that your answers are age appropriate. For example, “He was clearly a very disturbed person and disturbed people sometimes make terrible choices.”
- Take caution not to use words like “sick” or “angry” when talking about the gunman. Children are literal thinkers. It can be anxiety provoking if children are lead to believe that every day experiences like sick, angry or sad lead to this sort of tragedy.
- It is normal for children, especially younger children, to ask the same questions over and over. Keep your responses consistent and be patient with their curiosities.
- Increased separation anxiety and fears are natural responses to mass shootings. Be patient and gentle with yourself and your children. Reassure them of their safety and yours. Keep them focused on the present moment. For example, “We’re all home tonight and we’re all together.”
- Make an effort to focus your children’s attention, and your own, on the unity and support that comes in the aftermath of the tragedy. Stories of survival and heroism can provide comfort and relief.
- If your children ask how they can help, engage them in something concrete. Prayer is an excellent suggestion but children need something tangible such as donations, letters writing and/or drawings.
- Normalize and affirm their feelings around this event. For example, “It’s normal to feel this way after something like this happens. I feel it too.”
- Finally, take good care of yourself. Children are highly in tune with their parents and caregivers. They will be comforted by seeing that you’re in a good, healthy and peaceful place.
For questions or support contact Michelli Ramon, Rise Recovery Program Director, at 210-316-4057.
Drug rehabilitation experts in Bexar County are applauding the county’s new cite and release program, saying it could help people and save taxpayers money in the long run.