NAMPA, Idaho — It's no secret the holiday season can be stressful, but for Idahoans living in recovery comes the threat of relapsing.
For those in recovery, relapse rates rise around the holidays because unlike other months of the year, people are often dealing with stress, anxiety and loneliness all at the same time. Without a plan to stay sober, those feelings can push recovering addicts to relapse.
"It can be a very isolating time for them," Northpoint Recovery founder and president Robert Castan said. "People in addiction during the holidays don't really have a clear path to success."
Castan says most people either view the holidays as the most joyous or the most stressful weeks of the year, and for addicts it's no different.
"Essentially it's like all of their triggers compounded on one," Castan said. "They have to show up at events, they have to be on point, they spend more money."
That's especially true for recovering addicts without a tight-knit family. Isolation and feelings of loneliness around the holidays can trigger a relapse, but Castan says a strong support system can change everything.
"I got clean and sober in 2008 and if somebody would've told me in 2008 I would live the life that I live today, by being all the things that I get to be - by staying clean and sober - I would've totally counted them off," Castan said.
For those still struggling with addiction, he says above all else remember there is hope.
"I mean, essentially 11 years ago I was homeless and today I'm the creator of a wonderful company that employs almost 100 people in the Treasure Valley," Castan said. "I mean, that's a huge growth opportunity from 11 years ago to where I am today, and what better way to tell people there's hope than, 'this homeless drunk had the opportunity to help change peoples lives.'"
So if you know someone dealing with addiction, or currently on a path to recovery, play your part in making this a happy holiday for everyone. "Welcome them into your house, really make sure that they know they have a voice and that you're available to be there as a support and if you see them struggling, reach out and ask others for help," Castan said.
While most businesses limit their hours of operation around the end of the year, that's not the case for recovery centers - often offering extra meetings around the holidays for this very reason.
If you need a starting point to find available resources by you click here or call (844) 255-6587.