STATEWIDE (WGME) – Holiday decorations are up in towns across Maine but as people prepare for friends and family some addiction recovery centers are preparing for more clients.
“Shortly after January 1st there is an influx,” said Steven Danzig, executive director of Enso Recovery in Westbrook.
Mental health experts at Enso Recovery say the holiday season is tough for people with substance use disorder.
“Particularly folks that are new in recovery, within the first year, because they haven’t — they haven’t often times had exposure to the holiday yet,” Danzig said.
Experts said this can be caused by substances like alcohol being widely available or by having to confront those they love.
“They feel the eyes upon them, of distrust, which is appropriate to the situation, but internally, that person can feel very shamed,” Danzig said.
Psychology experts across the country say the best things loved ones of those suffering from addiction can do is to be flexible and open.
“When you’re planning events, ask them what they need to feel comfortable, what you can do to make them have a good time,” said Amy Kaplan, a psychotherapist at Plush Care.
For those in recovery, experts say it is important to set boundaries.
“It’s okay to edit out some of the events that you’ve gone to in years past, and be realistic about what you think you can do and what you think you can handle during the holidays.”
According to Maine health experts, including Danzig, being kind during the holidays can potentially save someone’s life.
“People that are new in recovery are seeking acceptance from their loved ones,” he said. “Go out of your way to hold the door open for somebody. It’s really that simple.”