The Catalyst blog post exactly one year ago today was In Recovery in the Food & Beverage Service Industry During the Holiday Season. With inspirational quotes such as “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”― Ian Maclaren and “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu, this space hoped to use a blog post to inspire people during the holidays. The challenges of those in recovery and working in the food and beverage service industry at this time of year are not always first and foremost in our minds as we open presents, feast, and ring in the New Year. Our hope was that reading about the personalized experience of someone in recovery and working in food and beverage service might remind us all with a new perspective: there are many people for whom everyday trials and tribulations often appear impossible. How could anyone know before 2020 even began the challenges that people would be facing all over the world? Challenges that would test the healthiest and patient among us can seem overwhelming and insurmountable for those in recovery and the support networks of professionals, friends, and families that help them to live successful and fulfilling lives.
Other blog posts during past holiday seasons have contained many helpful insights and hints for celebrating and having fun without alcohol. The December 19, 2018 blog post Tips for Avoiding Alcohol Over the Holidays focused on just how tough this time of year can be for those in recovery–as well as everyone else. The post shared recent research about drinking during the holidays and some helpful recommendations for groups who should not consume alcohol. For those who need or want to abstain for whatever reason, there was a list how how to get through the holidays without drinking and how to have fun without alcohol. Delicious “mocktail” recipes that anyone might enjoy were even included.
Ho-Ho-Ho or No-No-No: Stress, Recovery, and Coping During the Holidays from December 4, 2019 examined alcohol as an ongoing health concern in more detail. In that post you will find data about drinking and its effects and information about how alcohol affects women and the increased stress of the holidays that motivates some people to drink it. Included are a few tips for coping with holiday stress in positive and productive ways.
Lastly, National Stress-Free Holidays Month: How to Put Self-Care at the Top of Your To-Do List, published on November 25, 2020, had a great fact sheet from SAMHSA on recognizing the common signs of stress during infectious disease outbreaks “Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks”, and what we all can do when feeling stressed or anxious.
In addition to the holiday posts about recovery and coping, the Catalyst has numerous posts about COVID-19 and its impact on people in recovery, helping others, such as those in recovery and older adults, and its impact on substance use and mental health disorders. The posts contain many tips and suggests from a variety of sources to help us all get through these challenging times:
The year 2020 has been a challenge for everyone. Yet the responses to these difficult times have provided a silver lining to the clouds overhead. Changes to federal and state policies have enabled medication assisted treatment to continue to help address the opioid crisis. Telehealth expansion has been made possible by changes to Medicare and personal insurance. Health and behavioral health professionals have been heroic in advocating for their patients and clients. The development of several vaccines more quickly than ever thought possible provides a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. People have responded with compassion and generosity in supporting those in need–whether it be those in recovery or those losing jobs or suffering illness. In this holiday season, our wish is that the spirit of hope will flourish in all of our hearts and inspire us to help ourselves and help others, especially those in recovery, to look forward to a better new year in 2021. Have a healthy and peaceful holiday.