Coping with Addiction and Holidays

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Every year, the media sends out the message that the end-of-the-year holidays are all about happy families, fun gatherings, and carefree times. However, the holidays are not one extended scene from a Hallmark Channel movie. Addiction and holidays often come into focus together when families gather and realize that someone is struggling with a substance use disorder or has relapsed. This provides a unique opportunity for loved ones to come together and help the person get treatment for their addiction and start the new year with renewed focus and health. 

Holidays Can Trigger People With Addictions

Holidays can trigger a lot of people for a variety of reasons. Even in the best of circumstances, families that gather together can experience some discord. Groups of loved ones that already have their difficulties often tend to open old wounds when they get together. The resulting fights and fallout can make addiction and holidays a one-two punch that triggers a person’s drug or alcohol addiction to escalate or ends up with them relapsing. 

Individuals who have lived away from their hometowns often return there at the holidays and find that differences between themselves and their loved ones become a battleground. Members of the LGBTQI+ community sometimes find they do not receive full acceptance from family and friends back home. These days, differences of opinions related to politics and the pandemic often put people at odds with each other. 

People who host holiday events and out-of-town guests in their homes often find the work expected of them to be overwhelming. The pressures of being perfect hosts and laying out a spread worthy of Martha Stewart can trigger their urges to drink or use drugs. Not everyone has a reliable, loving community to join for the holidays, making loneliness a real issue for millions. All of these types of situations can cause a temptation to abuse drugs or alcohol as a way of coping. Even for someone in strong recovery from their addiction, relapsing sometimes happens when they face difficulties over the holidays.

Why Addiction and Holidays Are Even More Difficult This Year

So many people have experienced vast amounts of isolation during the pandemic that it has taken its toll on them in many ways. Remaining homebound and not being able to enjoy in-person contact has taken a real toll on people worldwide in relation to their mental health and the use or abuse of drugs and alcohol. A recent survey showed startling results from respondents related to the pandemic that include: 

  • 40.9% experienced at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition
  • 30.9% experienced symptoms of anxiety disorders or depressive disorders
  • 26.3% experienced trauma-related and stressor-related symptoms
  • 13.3% increased or began substance use to cope with their stress and other negative emotions
  • 10.7% seriously considered suicide in the previous 30 days 

While vaccines have been widely distributed and many parts of society, including restaurants, shops, and offices, have reopened, the fallout from the pandemic continues. Those struggling with a substance use disorder during this time that has relapsed or feel at risk of relapsing should explore their options for treatment immediately. 

Treatment centers typically have plans to keep their facilities safe and clean, and they understand how to treat those for whom addiction and holidays prove to be a dangerous and potentially deadly combination.

Pairing Treatment for Addiction and Holidays Makes Sense

A person who will be surrounded by loved ones during the holidays can enjoy an advantage that they don’t have the rest of the year. They can ask for help planning needed treatment in order to take some of the burdens off them. Family and friends can volunteer to make phone calls regarding treatment, determine financial availability, and provide reassurances that the person will be successful in becoming sober. Loved ones can offer practical help, such as packing for a residential stay, doing laundry, and arranging things like childcare or pet care. 

For someone who will be alone during the holiday season, it can be the perfect time to devote the extra days off to seeking addiction treatment. Being among trained clinicians and other people newly invested in recovery can provide a cushion that will make their experience with addiction and holidays be the jumping-off point to getting better, rather than a lonely time of year that might cause their addictions to worsen. 

Even if a person is in strong recovery, knowing the holidays come with a risk of relapse makes it a smart move to look for follow-up treatment to ensure they stay strong in their sobriety. Many outpatient facilities offer an array of programs that can help those at risk of relapse avoid throwing away the hard work they’ve done to stay in recovery. 

Addiction Treatment During the Holidays

If you or someone you love realizes that drug or alcohol addiction has taken over your life, make the end of the year holiday season the time you take charge of your health. We provide year-round treatment for substance use disorders and mental health, allowing you to start the new year living a sober life. We offer multiple types of therapy and programs that help our clients leave addiction behind and start 2022 with a clear head and a full support team behind them. Contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles today and make this the season that you turn your life around. Call us or visit our admissions page today.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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