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Holiday gatherings can add stress for those recovering from addiction

Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 15:43:04-05

Nick Williams says that for 10 years he struggled with alcohol and drug addictions.

"Towards the end of my alcoholism, I was putting my family through misery," said Williams. "The holidays were a big part of my downfall as continuous as it was. When the holidays would roll around, it was a much deeper depression that would set in because I knew everybody is in good spirits and buying each other's gifts surrounded by love and happiness. And I was never happy."

According to a recent study by American Addiction Centers, holiday stress can trigger a relapse for someone in recovery.

WPTV spoke with an addiction specialist with Ambrosia Treatment Centers in Jupiter about avoiding a setback.

"They need to be honest with themselves to know it's people, places, and things," said Dr. Sal Raichbach. "And unfortunately in early recovery, those things may have to be avoided including parties and holiday events."

Make sure to have a plan in place, recommends Dr. Raichbach.

"A plan, an exit plan," said Dr. Raichbach. "If I go, and if I feel this way, then here is what I am going to do. And those are just preparations that are normally for an addict or alcoholic in any stage of their recovery."

As for Nick, he's been sober for 14 months and mentors others struggling with addictions. His mother is proud.

"She was terrified to answer her phone because she thought it was a call coming from the authorities saying they found me dead," said Williams. "And now when I talk to her, she still cries, but it's more of a joyful cry."

Related: American Addiction Centers