Staying sober during the holidays

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Champagne toasts, eggnog and holiday craft beer selections are synonymous with the holiday season, and while this may represent fun and cheer for some, our alcohol heavy culture is not always easy for everyone.

“The family disease of addiction a lot of times is difficult for family members to understand how powerful it is the the addict,” said Thomas Russell, a case manager for Fuller Life Counseling.

Alcohol seems to flow more than usual around this time as we all gather with friends and family for the holidays, but it’s not jovial for some out there.

“It’s everywhere people go a lot of times, so it’s one of the harder things sometimes to stop, is to stop drinking. Just because it’s legal and its accessible,” clinical counselor Kristy Fuller said to News 40.

The holiday season is full of enjoyable things to do, but a favorite pastime is spending time with family. For some families out there, they have members that suffer from addiction.

Fuller said it’s important to respect those who might struggle with alcohol abuse as much as possible, potentially waiting to just partake in drinking until after they’ve left the festivities. And with addiction and substance abuse, the Fuller Counseling staff emphasized that it is important to set boundaries for yourself if you are in recovery.

Russell, an individual in recovery himself, assured that it’s “okay to have that boundary to ask them not to bring the punch out until you leave so you don’t put yourself in a situation where you feel honestly that you can or cannot handle.”

Russell said in his own journey to sobriety, having the courage to ask for help in protecting your recovery is something he’s done before. Russell recounted when he first began to get clean, he called his family and told them he wanted to come home for Christmas but asked for an hour or two where no drugs or alcohol were used until he left.

He also advocated for continued support from family and friends, saying, “support, encourage, and just love ’em. Addicts and alcoholics you know, we’re discouraged…”