Dealing with alcohol addiction recovery this holiday

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Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 5:20 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — While for some the holiday season is filled with joy and cheer, this can be a challenging time for those recovering from alcohol addiction.

Magic Valley author Neal Linares is 12 years sober. He spoke to KMVT not only about his journey through sobriety but also how the holiday period can be difficult.

“I noticed in the first years of my sobriety that holidays for some reason the holidays always seemed to trigger emotions,” said Linares, author of Comfortably Insane.

His book details his journey towards sobriety, which at times saw him hit incredible lows.

“There is a saying that if you’re an addict that you’re going to end up in three places,” Linares said. “You’re either going to end up in jail. You’re going to end up in a hospital or something like that or you’re going to end up dead. I contemplated all three of those places.”

Linares hopes to help others through a Facebook Support group he created called Sobriety Support for the Holidays.

Experts said they also see the holiday period as a challenging one for those trying to stay sober. John Brannen — Director of Recovery in Motion — said stressors like financial difficulties or family conflict can be amplified during this time.

“Whenever we’re stressed, we go to our bottom response and for those who are alcoholics and addicts, their bottom response is to remove themselves from the situation. So, therefore, they will drink or use the drug of their choice,” Brannen said.

Brannen added while sobriety is ultimately a personal decision, friends and family can help, especially during the holidays.

“If the family can just be welcoming and supportive of that person and be willing to reintegrate them back into the family, that’s going to really help,” he said.

As Linares will attest, for him, maintaining sobriety through the tough times has been life-changing.

“My life was darkness. My life was hiding booze in the bathroom and waking up, going to the bathroom early in the morning (and) drinking it so I could go out and have a beer acting like everything was normal, which was craziness. Fast forward to now and I wake up and smile.

Those looking for additional support with substance abuse or mental health challenges can take advantage of free resources by visiting Recovery in Motion in Twin Falls.

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