8 Ways to Stay Sober During the Holidays. Redux.By Amber Tozer 12/27/15The season isn’t over yet. Amber Tozer offers her own options for making it through to New Year’s.shutterstockIf you don’t want to drink during the holidays maybe you should just lock yourself in a room with a bunch of water, healthy snacks and self-help audiobooks. Or get pregnant, even if you’re a guy. My sister says it’s easy to not drink because she’s pregnant, and I just wanted to pass this along to you guys. If breeding sounds like it’s a bit too much, just start screaming now and don’t stop until 2016.
MY FIRST YEAR AS AN ALCOHOLIC IN RECOVERYPOSTED ON DECEMBER 21, 2015Like some of you, I’m going to church this Christmas Eve. I don’t know which one you go to, but I go to the little white church across from the pink Mexican restaurant by the harbour. Like some of you, I’ll look for the seat I always sit in, being the creature of habit that I am. Like some of you, I’ll make small talk with the people in the rows behind me, exchanging well wishes while switching my phone to silent. Like some of you, I’ll acknowledge the date and all that comes with it. Like some of you, the word “gifts” will come to mind, though our definitions may not be the same. But unlike most of you, this will be my first Christmas Eve in a church. Last Christmas Eve I was in hell.
Good self-care is vital. Remember to slow down. Take some quiet time each day and work on an attitude of gratitude. Plan relaxation and meditation into your day, even for a few minutes, no matter how busy you are. Relax your standards and reduce overwhelming demands and responsibilities.
Tips for preventing the holiday blues, staying soberMost people know the holidays can be a period of emotional highs and lows. Loneliness, anxiety, happiness and sadness are common feelings, sometimes experienced in startling succession. The bad news is the holiday blues can trigger relapse for people recovering from alcoholism and other drug addiction. The good news is the blues can be remedied by planning ahead.Why do the blues hit during this otherwise festive season? Doing too much or too little and being separated from loved ones at this special time can lead to sadness during the holiday season. Many recovering people associate the holidays with memories of overindulgence, perhaps of big benders that resulted in relationship problems or great personal losses.People experience feelings of melancholy, sadness and grief tied to holiday recollections. Unlike clinical depression, which is more severe and can last for months or years, those feelings are temporary. Anyone experiencing major symptoms of depression, such as persistent sadness, anxiety, guilt or helplessness; changes in sleep patterns; and a reduction in energy and libido, should seek help from a mental health professional.Whether you’re in recovery or not, developing a holiday plan to help prevent the blues, one that will confront unpleasant memories before they threaten your holiday experience. Your plan should include improved self-care, enhanced support from others, and healthy ways to celebrate. Here are a few suggestions to achieve a happy, sober holiday season:
The patient had a good reason for wanting painkillers: She’d fallen off a horse about a month before, and she’d just had shoulder surgery. But Dr. Jonathan Chen, an internist at the Stanford School of Medicine, was suspicious.The woman’s chart showed that she had recently asked her family doctor for an early refill on an opioid called Norco, supposedly because her first pill bottle had been stolen from her car. Now, she was coming to see Chen at a same-day primary care clinic where most patients had little more than a sprained ankle or a cold.Chen looked up the patient in California’s prescription drug database, and his suspicions were confirmed. “I found that over the past two months, she had gotten 12 different prescriptions for Norco from 10 different doctors,” said Chen.Read more: How we measure pain is contributing to opioid addictionFor Chen, this case was more than just a clinical challenge. It was also representative of a national problem.In a study published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Chen and three colleagues found that the majority of opioid painkillers aren’t being prescribed by a small group of bad doctors. Rather, they discovered that a huge number of those drugs are coming from run-of-the-mill family doctors and general practitioners.
A few days before Christmas last year, I sat in my therapists office, sipping in the lavender flavored air and her warm sage advice. I was in a good place. My job wasn’t killing me too much, I hadn’t had a hangover in what seemed an eternity, I was in yoga teacher training and continually becoming a more dedicated and regular practitioner, I knew what self love meant (really!), and my apartment was clean (this is a really big benchmark for adulthood for me). I actually remember sitting there across from her feeling…together.We were talking about my upcoming trip home for the holidays to my mother’s house. I told her that while in the past these holiday gatherings had tended to undo me in the worst possible way, I was actually looking forward to this time home and this big holiday affair. I was severely optimistic because this time, I was a grown up. A spiritually progressed grown-up by Oprah standards.This year would be different because I was different.So three days later as I sat in my childhood home living room in a ball on the floor sobbing uncontrollable hate tears, a string of “fuck-you assholes” hanging thick in the air somewhere between my mother and sister and I as they continued on unaffected in their game of cribbage, their normal “there she goes” giggling eye roll routine only stoking the hate fire further- I couldn’t help but wonder.What. The. Fuck. Happened.