It’s December. You know you need addiction treatment. Or you’re urgently seeking help for someone you love. You’re looking into residential addiction treatment but there’s a doubt in your mind. Do you get the help you need now? Or do you wait until after Christmas or early in the New Year? In this blog, we’ll explain what you can expect from Christmas in rehab. Geoff Mascall, Manager of UKAT’s Primrose Lodge, also gives a few insights into what goes on.
For many addicts and their families, Christmas and New Year is a difficult and painful time. If this is the case for you, please don’t suffer in silence. Help for addiction is available if you want to do things differently this year.
Primrose Lodge Manager, Geoff Mascall, says: “Christmas is a time of great vulnerability for many people, so why not come and get the support you need?”
Are you addicted to alcohol, for example? If so, does it feel culturally more acceptable to drink excessively in December? Everyone seems to drink more at this time of year. There are lunchtime drinks with colleagues and the pub after work. There are Christmas parties and nights out with friends. It seems normal over Christmas to start drinking alcohol in the morning, then to carry on throughout the day. But it’s really catching up with you now, the way you can’t go for long without a drink.
Is cocaine your problem? Friends who take cocaine occasionally are calling you up – they want to plan some big nights out in December. You’re the person they always associate with taking lots of cocaine. It’s part of the way your cocaine habit has progressed to an addiction – you find it impossible to say no.
You may be struggling with anorexia. Christmas meals with your relatives are a nightmare for you. Nobody understands how you feel, surrounded by lots of people, pretending to be okay. You’re dreading the family get-togethers this year. You fear that your illness will get worse. One of your relatives always pressures you to eat more – but it just makes you want to restrict food even more than usual.
Are you one of the millions of people in the UK who take prescription drugs? Perhaps you began self-medicating last December, taking more tablets than the doctor prescribed. Since then, you’ve often topped up your prescription drugs with over-the-counter medications or drugs you’ve bought elsewhere. You feel under strain to do what you think your family expect of you at Christmas. But your health is really suffering too.
Perhaps you’re addicted to shopping or gambling. Are you already overspending on gifts for family and friends? Are you gambling more than usual, to cope with financial pressure? Personal debt and money problems affect millions of families in the UK. Overspending or a gambling addiction just adds to the stress you feel.
Many addicts and their relatives also find December a lonely time of year. You may be isolated anyway but feel even more alone at Christmas time. Your relationships with family and friends have been tested by addiction many times over. On social media, it looks like everyone else is having the perfect Christmas. They’re surrounded by people they love. They’re opening expensive gifts. Or they’re away on holiday. You might feel sad or despairing, comparing your life to theirs. Your life doesn’t seem to measure up and that makes you crave your addiction more.
Whatever your situation – whether you’re directly affected by addiction or you care about someone who is – if you’re ready to change, we’re here to help you achieve that. Christmas in rehab is a life-affirming choice. Taking a fresh approach this December can bring relief and hope to everyone involved.
You might know your addiction is out of control, but even so, spending Christmas in rehab still seems like a miserable option for you. Perhaps it feels like a failure somehow or something that can wait until you’ve had one last blow out. You know you’re struggling but there’s part of you that still wants to spend time with your friends, going out, enjoying time off from work or education. You may be trying to persuade a relative to go into rehab this December – but they’re objecting because it’s nearly Christmas.
It may help to understand more about what Christmas in rehab is like. How many people are in rehab this time of year? What about the addiction treatment programme – does that carry on, even on Christmas Day?
December and January are actually busy times of year in addiction rehabs. Geoff Mascall says: “When I first came to work at Primrose Lodge, I thought things might quieten down at Christmas time. But actually, we often get busier.”
Quite simply, addiction (just like any other illness) needs timely treatment. If you’re dependent on drugs, alcohol or a harmful addictive process, you are no longer in control. How much you use or act out addictively has become unmanageable. How fast your illness will progress and the consequences it will cause are not in your hands either. So, just like regular hospitals, UKAT rehabs operate all year round, including on Christmas Day.
Please do not wait for a ‘better’ time to start your addiction recovery. This is one of the illusions that are common with addictive disorders – that recovery can wait for a more convenient or quieter time.
We want to reassure you that the intensive addiction treatment you’ll receive in UKAT rehabs continues throughout December and January. Your recovery is our top priority. If you’re undergoing a medically assisted detox, your care and support continue. Your therapeutic rehabilitation goes on in December and January too, as it does every other month of the year. All UKAT rehabs are staffed throughout the Christmas and New Year period so that the specialist addiction treatment work carries on. You’ll be alongside peers, who are seeking recovery from their addiction too.
Geoff explains the approach at Primrose Lodge. “The recovery work doesn’t stop at Christmas. Sometimes the focus of what our clients choose to discuss changes, due to the time of year and past experiences they’ve had at Christmas time. But whatever the topics raised, the important therapeutic work is always going on.”
For everyone who chooses to celebrate Christmas, we also like to observe some of the traditions and have some fun. UKAT rehabs go the extra mile to create a welcoming environment, where our clients feel comfortable during their stay. If you are considering Christmas in rehab this year, please let us know if there’s anything more we can do to make you feel at home.
Geoff Mascall explains some of the Christmas traditions at Primrose Lodge: “We do a bit of extra family time in the morning, so people can speak to their kids when they’re opening presents at home, for example. For all our residents, we try to make the day as celebratory as possible. Last year our clients wanted to put on a panto. We had our therapeutic groups as normal, as well as drama and music therapy. We enjoyed Christmas lunch. This year, we’re opening our doors to a couple of our former clients, who would otherwise be having lunch on their own.”
For anyone who chooses not to celebrate Christmas or belongs to a different faith group, your wishes and needs will be fully respected.
To speak to UKAT about addiction treatment including detox and rehab, please call or send us a message today.