Have a Merry Sober Christmas Part 2

Links to other resources: Panama City Detox, Residential Rehab, Intensive Outpatient

At the end of last week, we began discussing some of the issues people in recovery face over the Christmas and New Years holidays. Later on, I want to talk more about New Years Eve. Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center in Panama City, the best drug and alcohol rehab in Panama City, has many patients who have made the difficult decision to enter treatment over this holiday season. I just wanted to commend those people on their willingness to address the difficulties of substance use disorder head on, even while people around them celebrate the holidays. Most people who enter treatment for addiction and alcoholism are in crisis, and putting off dealing with that crisis can often have disastrous results. It is completely reasonable to put off entering rehab for a few days and spend time with friends and family for Christmas, I just hope all the people who need treatment in Panama City over this Christmas holiday successfully reach treatment, regardless of when they enter a facility.  Florida Springs in Panama City is not going anywhere, and we will have beds available both tomorrow and after New Year’s Day, but a lot can happen in 7 to 10 days, and family members who see you struggling with this terrible disease will understand if you must miss some family gatherings for health reasons. Entering drug and alcohol rehab in Panama City right away will make it easier to enjoy all the future Christmas and New Year’s holidays in a happy and healthy way. Last week we talked about some of the reasons Christmas can be difficult for people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Today I want to delve deeper into issues of guilt and shame.

Shame, Guilt, and Family

Guilt and shame can have devastating effects on family relationships. Most family members that we care about are loving and supportive towards us. In the life of an addict, that mutual support and caring can turn into shame and guilt when our life does not go the way we expected or hoped it would go. Many people in recovery had difficult periods in their lives where family relationships were strained, some to the breaking point. This is not to mention the bad family relationships that many people with substance use disorder experienced in their early lives that may have influenced their development of an addiction, but PTSD and bad relationships are a topic for another day. Many addicts have celebrated Christmas and other holidays with family while not being in a good place emotionally or physically because of addiction and alcoholism. Some people would have drunk or used drugs over the holidays in the past because of feelings of low self-worth, and some of those feelings of shame, doubt, guilt, and low self-esteem are directly tied to not living up to the expectations of family members, or simply guilt from blaming oneself for having substance use disorder. We drink and use drugs to escape the shame that comes from drinking and using drugs. This is an unhealthy and repetitive cycle, unless we enter recovery and dismantle that terrible cycle. The best drug and alcohol rehabs in Florida and around the country, including Florida Springs in Panama City, teach people to cope with feelings of shame and guilt through education and understanding.

When we educate ourselves about our own addiction, we begin to understand the physical and emotional processes that led to all that heartache in our past. It is difficult to teach family members to understand addiction and recovery in the same way, because they do not spend all that time at rehab and at meetings learning about the disease, but over time it is possible for anyone to understand the roots of addiction and the reasons that all people with substance use disorder should have hope. Learning about the process that the brain goes through during addiction and the reordering of priorities that happens to people with substance use disorder can give family members some of the answers they were looking for all those years when they did not know why they were losing a family member to drugs or alcohol. Mutual understanding about the disease processes that lead to addiction can lead to mutual understanding between family members on an emotional level. Once we begin to understand some of the physical disease processes that happen in the body of a person with addiction, we can also begin to learn about the emotional side of this disease. At Florida Springs in Panama City, some family members choose to go through a process of therapy with their loved one who is entering a life of recovery at Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center. Talking to other addicts and alcoholics is paramount in the process of recovering from substance use disorder. Talking to our own family members openly and honestly is key to the process of mending fences and restoring trust in our most important relationships. If you are seeing family members you have not seen since entering recovery over the holidays, take small steps towards the ultimate goal of beginning to mend your relationships. Oftentimes during holiday events, many family members are present. Some honest conversations are easiest in settings where a smaller number of people are present. If you are in a large group of family members for the holidays and you want to mend some fences while you have the chance, planting a seed in the minds of family members can be a good place to start. You may not have the hour or two that you need to really begin a deeper discussion about the changes happening in your life. You might say to a family member,

“I am doing really well. A lot has changed, and I feel healthy. We should get together soon and talk more about it.”

This can plant a seed in your family members mind, not only that something has changed in your life, but also that you care enough to tell them more about what is going on in your life. Planting a seed can be perfect for holiday parties, especially if holiday breaks offer a chance to catch up more with that same family member another day soon. Even if that small period of time is the only time you address your recovery with a family member right now, a seed has been planted that announces your intention to shift the paradigm. You are not the black sheep, even if you were the black sheep at some point in the past. You are in recovery and things are improving, and you care enough about familial relationships to share information about yourself with others you care about. If you live in the Panama City area, call Florida Springs today at the number listed above and ask about drug and alcohol rehab in Panama City that includes therapy with a family member.

By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)