Christmas lights blink on and off of homes and buildings, Andy Williams and Bing Crosby croon about “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Happy Holidays” for the 10,000th time in four weeks, and family members keep hounding a man about where he will be for the holidays. All of it can lead to wanting a “fix,” which can take many different forms.
Alcohol, drugs, food, sex, money, work, relationships, or staying on the Internet for hours … you name it. Even a really good thing like exercise and health can wickedly turn into an unhealthy obsession or addiction.
Addiction? Yes, addict-like behaviors can become more commonplace during the holidays. This is not a blanket statement because people celebrate good times in responsible ways, too. Addiction simply becomes a ghost which does not seemingly go quietly into the night. It is a pathway to take individuals who are making rational decisions and turn them into people unable to tell day from night. Their inner peace or healthy self-esteem gets eroded.
Even if someone does not physically look like another person (for instance, a man or woman with a facial difference), then people seem to take great glee in knocking them down a few pegs.
Many individuals can “hold their own” while having a few drinks or some extracurricular fun during the holiday season. If they can do it without hurting others, then more power to them. Others simply become obsessive and compulsive around substances and/or family situations. The physical, mental and emotional harm they deal with is simply too big of a cross to bear.
This wonderful time of year, unfortunately, turns into the most painful of them all.
Addiction is not new to the world stage; it’s been around for decades. As far as I can tell, it is not going anywhere fast.
If you celebrate the holidays, then there are just as many people who don’t pay attention to them at all. It brings up too many bad memories of times ruined by others. Maybe someone they dearly loved died during this time years ago, a marriage or relationship filled with great dreams and potential ended, or a parent or family member ended up in a hospital over physical and/or mental health issues.
Avoiding pain becomes the main goal instead of embracing happiness, joy, and pleasure. Admittedly, I’ve had my fair share of crappy holidays. I see and hear people who will say “I’ve never had a bad holiday season in all my life.” All I’m left doing is shaking my head back and forth. Sometimes, I might catch myself muttering “Are they crazy?”
Getting hooked on unhealthy actions and attitudes simply leads to unhealthy responses. It can seriously hurt your heart, mind, and soul. In fact, some people find great comfort in “cutting” themselves. Yes, I said “cut” themselves by taking a razor blade and slashing their inner thighs or arms. Why? Feeling physical pain helps ease the inner pain. It happens more than you would think because “cutting” is considered “taboo” and not talked about much.
Look at adults who grew up too fast, having to deal with adult-like responsibilities – especially at Christmastime – before he or she was ready to do so. It’s a tough road. Others have gone through similar situations and handled it with grace. For too many, though, the holiday season can be a pain in the ass.
To be truthful, this time of year which is filled with light and supposedly peace and goodwill toward all men becomes some people’s last holiday season by choice. The hooks of addiction are so deep, leaving scars which might not be able to heal over time … so a person only sees one other option: death.
How much time will a man or woman give themselves toward healing? I would hope as much as it takes to stay above ground, not go below it. Addiction casts an appalling scene. No matter what “the fix” is, people seek something to make them feel better.
Just the mere subjects of addiction and substance abuse bring up a lot of ghosts in my life.
Thankfully, I’ve sought out and received help and support in my own life’s journey. If you are someone dealing with addiction-related issues, then I want you to know there is help out there for you. The holiday season does not have to totally suck.
You don’t have to solve all of your life issues alone. Get support during these holidays. Your entire life might take a 180-degree turn for the better. You will not know if it is possible until you get out there and ask for help. Active addicts hate asking for help because it is a sign of vulnerability – the very thing which leads to a healthier, happier life.
Be vulnerable, damn it. Do it for your own good. Take back what you’ve given away. Then take one real good look at all of the twinkling lights, either on houses or buildings or way up in the nighttime skies. Light casts out darkness, and I hope you will let happen right now.
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