For some of us, the holidays get boozy. And I get it: 2022 has been really hard and holiday parties are an opportunity to let loose.
But for those of us with a PTSD diagnosis, it never hurts to pause and consider if our drug and alcohol use is moving into problem territory. The reason for this is that PTSD is one of those disorders that always comes to the party with friends. The most common co-occurring disorders that I see with military Veterans who have PTSD are anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Drug and alcohol abuse make a lot of sense in the context of PTSD. Criterion C of PTSD is avoidance, and drinking and drugging help us to avoid our feelings. Criterion D is all about changes in the way we think and feel, and alcohol and drugs can play a major role in this. Of course, alcohol is a big part of military culture. It is what it is.
If you're wondering if your drinking has gone too far, you have nothing to lose by checking out a community recovery meeting online. One of the few good things to come out of the pandemic is that the recovery community (AA, NA, etc.) has largely shifted online and will probably stay this way. The barrier to entry has been completely removed, and our excuses for not going to a meeting are no longer valid.
Having Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) online means that instead of going to the chapel basement for a meeting, you can log into Zoom. The meeting you attend can be based in your city or in another country, so the likelihood that you're going to run into someone you know is significantly diminished. You can change your name in a Zoom room, and put up a photo rather than using your camera.
I understand why people don't like 12-step programs. There are horrible meetings and miserable sponsors. There are also great meetings and highly supportive sponsors. Another perk of Zoom is that if you don't like the meeting you're in, you can click out of it; you can leave when you want to.
If you've been on the fence about going to an AA or NA program, now is the time to pull the trigger. Do a Google search for AA online or NA online to find a meeting.
One thing to know about 12-step meetings is that when a meeting says it is closed that means that it is not welcoming students, clinicians, or family members. This means that if you have a desire to stop drinking or stop using, you are welcome to a closed meeting. This is known as the "third tradition," and it's incredibly important.
Has recovery worked for you? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!
“If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”