NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA) — The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends.
However, if you’re recovering from addiction, the holidays can be a time of added stress, fear, and triggers that can lead to a relapse.
Twana Nixon has been clean for 23 years, but it didn’t happen overnight. First, she had to hit rock bottom.
Now she’s a Treatment Specialist for Addiction Campuses.
“I was that person. I was that hopeless person living without any faith. It was a downhill spiral for me and I lost everything,” Nixon said. “It was hard in my active addiction around the holidays, because I was just stressful, not feeling that I measured up, or wasn’t meeting up to my family’s expectations. I wanted to use to suppress my feelings.”
The holiday season can be especially challenging for those recovering from addiction or spending the holiday in a treatment program.
Amanda Riddle is a Substance Abuse Service Coordinator for Youth Bridge.
“This is the time of year where festivities occur, so there’s holiday parties, a lot of times there’s alcohol,” Riddle said.
She says triggers are everywhere, and it’s important to show respect and be mindful of who you are hosting.
“It may be sitting down and having a conversation with them,” Riddle said.
“Keeping your medications locked up. It’s very triggering for addicts to see medication bottles,” Nixon said.
For Nixon, during her active addiction, she came to a point where she wasn’t showing up to holiday gatherings at all.
But if your loved one does participate, she says there may or may not be any signs that they are struggling.
“Make the event less stressful. Don’t ask a lot of questions. Make them feel loved and apart of. Keep them included in the events,” Nixon said.
Addiction Campuses hotline number: 1-888-614-2251