The holidays can present a steady stream of challenges for people with mental health or substance use disorders as they seek fellowship throughout the season. In addition to the loneliness of loss, there may be a rush of triggers that can cause isolation, or the lack of a strong community support base for individuals new to the recovery journey.
“People in recovery thrive on connection because they have experienced isolation in the past,” said Rosecrance Regional President Carlene Cardosi. “However, the pressure to celebrate and feel a certain way can unintentionally create stress that actually lead some to feel more isolated at this time of year.”
To encourage anyone who may be lonely through this time, check in on friends and loved ones. They will appreciate the conversation, even if it’s over Zoom. If they show signs of a negative self-image, significant mood changes, or an obsession with dark thoughts, encourage them to seek help from a professional counselor. Rosecrance’s caring Access counselors are available at 888.928.5278 to walk you through these times.
Also, find new ways to create community. Volunteer for an organization that you support and build connections through it. If friends or co-workers invite you to an event that won’t present you with too many triggers, make every effort to say “yes.” Also look for 12-Step group activities, as they often have holiday-themed festivities. Rosecrance’s Alumni program is busy at the holidays with a variety of virtual and in-person activities.
Last, take advantage of the time to celebrate on your own. Start a new tradition that can grow to include others in the future, attend events in the community that are open to the general public, or pick up an old hobby.
Remember that loneliness is a perfectly normal feeling. While we all need relationships to thrive, it is OK if this season is different. This, too, shall pass.