The holiday season is often extremely stressful both for people with drug or alcohol addiction and also for their families. Individuals with addictions experience fear and shame as they feel they’re constantly deceiving or disappointing their family members. Their family members experience the pain of witnessing their loved one suffer—or worse, they may be directly harmed by the actions of their loved one who has a drug or alcohol addiction. Consequently, both individuals with addiction, as well as their families, should consider whether the winter holiday season may actually be the best time of the year to go for inpatient drug or alcohol rehab. When you think about it—starting addiction recovery during the holidays makes a lot of sense.
How Christmas at Edgewood Changed Bob’s Life Forever
Bob’s heavy drinking had cost him his job, and his life was once again unraveling at a torrential pace—he was in trouble. Both his wife and his counsellor told him that treatment was the only thing that could potentially save his life, his marriage, and his relationships with his friends and family.
Faced with this reality, Bob started the inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program at Edgewood. Treatment was going well, and Bob was gradually getting better and more comfortable sharing his feelings and being open with his counsellors and fellow patients. He even agreed to stay in extended care once he completed his inpatient program.
The winter holiday season was approaching and somehow Bob had imagined that he’d make it home for Christmas. But once he had committed to staying in extended care, he had to acknowledge that this would not be possible. Bob was miserable, wallowing in self-pity, and took no joy in all the efforts of both the staff and the other patients to create a festive and cheerful holiday experience at Edgewood.
One day, Bob suddenly realized that he was choosing to be miserable. That day, Bob decided to start choosing differently. He started embracing, enjoying, and sharing the holiday spirit with those around him. To this day, Bob still gets emotional when he recalls the Christmas Spaghetti Dinner, caroling, and all the hard work and love that everyone put into making Christmas at Edgewood the best it could be.
Fifteen years have gone by, but not a single day goes by without Bob feeling gratitude for his time at Edgewood and for all of the people he met there. After completing his extended care, Bob returned to his wife, with whom he repaired his relationship over time. He also successfully rebuilt his career, eventually rising to an executive position. Bob has since retired, and is still living happily with his wife. Whenever he looks back, Bob feels great satisfaction regarding his decision to start his addiction recovery during the holidays.
I still, to this day, believe that my time at Edgewood was the best Christmas gift I could have ever received.
What EHN Canada Alumni Say About Being in Treatment During the Holidays
Being in treatment is never easy, especially when it means being away from your family during a time of year that’s supposed to be about togetherness. But our alumni agree that if you’re living with drug or alcohol addition, being at an inpatient drug rehab center and starting your addiction recovery during the holidays is the best gift you could give to the people who care about you the most. The advice from our alumni is to focus on your healing and give your family back the person they love.
It will be tough, but it will be okay—remember, this is just one holiday season out of many, just one holiday away from home. Think of it as an investment of time that will help you be your best self—both for your and for your family. Focus on getting better, and imagine all the future holidays with your family and what they’ll be like when you’re living in recovery.
Remember that your family wouldn’t want it any other way. They want you to get better. You are loved and you are worth it. Don’t forget that as long as you’re living with drug or alcohol addiction, you’ll always be causing your family members some amount of distress.
“Let’s face it… they don’t really want us around if we’re using drugs or in active addiction.”
If you’re with your family during the holidays, they may be worried about what you might do. If you avoid them during the holidays, they may be worried about where you are and whether you’re safe. The best place to be during the holidays is at an inpatient drug rehab center, because your family will know you’re safe, cared for, and working on getting better.
“It was an opportunity for my family to have some peace at Christmas.”
So don’t sweat the small stuff. Starting an inpatient drug or alcohol treatment program and working on your recovery this holiday season will allow you to escape the hectic mayhem you may have grown to dread.
At EHN Canada treatment centers, we really try to make the holiday season feel special and memorable for our patients. Many patients have told us that the holiday season they spent at an EHN Canada treatment center was their best holiday season ever!
“Relax, enjoy the season and the rest.”
It’s Okay—We’ll Care for Your Loved One During the Holidays
We know it may feel uncomfortable or strange to not have your loved one with you during the holidays. But think about the new memories you can look forward to creating with them during future holiday seasons. If you send them for inpatient drug or alcohol treatment now, they can start working on their recovery and getting better right now.
It may seem difficult not having them home but remember how painful it was to have them home but not really there. At an EHN Canada treatment center, we’ll care for them like family and they won’t be alone. We also have family programs to provide support for you—so if you’re struggling, please reach out. Our Family Counsellors will help you get through it.
Your loved one may be a bit sad or homesick in the beginning, but they will be safe and around people who care for them and can relate to them—it’s preparation for many more holidays to come. Remember that healing is a process, so you’ll have to stick it out and let the process carry through. Your loved one will be home when they’re ready and there will be happy and joyous times ahead. With drug and alcohol addictions, the sooner someone gets treatment, the better—so starting to work on their addiction recovery during the holidays may likely be the best choice for your loved one and your family.
“It will be worth missing one Christmas to have them back for the rest of your life.”
How to Convince Your Loved One to Get Treatment
If you’re not sure how to talk to your loved one about sending them to get treatment, you’ll find useful information and strategies in our article about how to help someone with drug addiction or alcoholism.
If your loved one has a severe drug or alcohol addiction and is harming themselves or your family—and they’re refusing treatment—then you’ll want to read our Complete Guide to How to Stage a Drug or Alcohol Intervention.
Worried About COVID Exposure in Treatment?
EHN Canada places top priority on the health of its patients and staff. We go beyond standard protocols to ensure that necessary screening and prevention measures are in place so that our treatment centers are as safe as possible from COVID-19 exposure. Patients continue to be supported wholeheartedly in their recovery.
We work with local Public Health Departments to ensure that strict Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures are in place. We follow best practices at each facility in accordance with local health regulations and we continuously monitor them for updates. For more information, read our action plan.
We Can Help You
If you’d like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by EHN Canada, enrol yourself, or refer a loved one, please call us at one of the numbers below. Our phone lines are open 24/7—so you can call us anytime.
- 1-800-387-6198 for Bellwood Health Services in Toronto, ON
- 1-587-350-6818 for EHN Sandstone, in Calgary, AB
- 1-800-683-0111 for Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo, BC
- 1-888-488-2611 for Clinique Nouveau Départ in Montreal, QC