‘Don’t be afraid to get help’: Experts warn holidays can trigger substance abuse

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – It’s the final countdown for the holidays as we are headed into December and experts say this time of year can be a triggering time for addiction.

“There’s a lot of difficult feelings that come up with the holidays and sometimes it’s the loneliness or the expectation that a person should be excited,” Christina Gibson said.

Gibson is a recovering alcoholic and she says sometimes people try to fill a void or mask feelings with alcohol or substances, especially around the holidays.

“It’s the way in which we deal with those feeling that can either lead to health or can be a hindrance for us, so as a person who is in recovery I consider the emotions that I have and have had around the holidays to be things that I should pay attention to,” Gibson said.

Gibson says a large issue is drinking or using can actually worsen feelings of depression or anxiety so look out for the signs you may have a problem and be honest about it.

“If you drink more than you intended to drink, you feel like you lose control of your behavior or don’t like the way that you are acting,” Gibson said.

“Those are important signs to pay attention to.”

Gibson is now a crisis counselor who helps others and says you are not alone.

“I know that for some people it feels very shameful to admit that you might have a problem,” Gibson said.

“Know that you are absolutely not alone that so many people understand what it feels like to want to escape.”

So never be afraid to reach out. Heart of Texas Region MHMR offers Substance Abuse Screenings, Adult Outpatient Treatment, COPSD Outpatient Treatment, Case Management, and Interim Treatment Services to promote continuity of care for the people they serve.


They do accept walk-ins.

It’s also important to create a space for others to express difficult emotions or ask for help.

Also, never pressure others to drink as you might not know their situation or what they are going through.

MHMR also has its #TexansRecoveringTogether Crisis Counseling Program. It offers free and anonymous COVID-19 and Texas Winter Storm emotional support services.

Texans Recovering Together supports short-term interventions that involve the following counseling goals:

  • Help anybody affected by the disaster understand their current situation and reactions
  • Reduce stress and provide emotional support
  • Assisting survivors in reviewing their disaster recovery options
  • Promoting the use of or developing coping strategies
  • Connecting survivors with other people and agencies who can help in the recovery process
  • Services are FREE, anonymous, confidential and available by virtual visit
  • Contact information: (866) 576-1101

COVID-19 Counseling Request Form (link opens in new window)

The program just crossed 29,000 people served in its six-county region.

Written by Katie Aupperle

Categories: Community, Health

Tagged as: , , ,

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