Easter is a time of rebirth, renewal. Not only because it’s the Christian’s commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also because (in the northern hemisphere) it’s the early days of Spring following the vernal equinox, and the setting for many festivals celebrating the return of the sun, with longer days, warmer temperatures, blooming flowers. It’s a time for renewal as well as miracles.
(The chocolate rabbits and decorated hard-boiled eggs came later.)
Despite that, it can be a hard time for people with alcohol or drug abuse problems. They are more likely to relapse or indulge during holidays, including Easter, for many reasons:
- Stress. Holidays can mean obligations as well as celebrations. People with substance abuse disorder or other mental health problems can feel doubly stressed. If you can’t stay sober because of your Easter obligations, then do less.
- Envy. If you are unhappy, seeing happy people, even friends and relatives at Easter, can make you feel even more miserable. Remember they may be miserable in their own way or at times. It’s not a competition.
- Temptation. Alcohol is often plentiful on holidays — though maybe less so at Easter than other holidays because it falls on a Sunday and involves mostly daytime activities, eggs, and chocolates. If you have an alcohol dependency that you have kept to yourself, you could be faced with people encouraging you to drink. Tell them no thank you. If they persist, say it is for health reasons.
- The End of Lent. If you gave up drinking for Lent, you might feel like cutting loose and overdoing it on Easter. Aside from the damage you can do to yourself, the end of Lent isn’t meant to be a bacchanal or day of excess (as many treat Mardi Gras). Treat Easter as another occasion for a resolution to moderation or temperance.
- Absent friends. You may feel the loss of loved ones more at Easter and other holidays, especially if that’s when you usually saw them. Share good memories with others who knew them and try not to dwell on their passing.
- Family. Not everyone has a great relationship with their parents, children siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles. If your relatives drive you to drink, spend less time with them. It’s not essential that you see them at Easter.
- Current “friends.” If the people with whom you hang out enable your substance abuse, or don’t support your efforts to recover, maybe you need to cut them out of your life entirely. Certainly, you don’t have to suffer their company on Easter. Say you have family obligations.
Recovery from substance abuse is a kind of renewal. It may be more palatable in Spring when everything is coming to life instead of autumn, or winter when everything’s gray and dying. Relapse prevention help is always available if you want it and can ask for it.