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Many have tough times coping with the holiday season

The holidays – while a time of joy for many – can be difficult for others, especially those recovering from substance use disorder or trying to maintain sobriety.

Since 1999 there have been nearly 91,000 drug-related deaths in total reported during the month of December according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Philip Moore is the Chief Medical Officer for Gaudenzia – which provides addiction treatment and recovery services – and he says this time of year can be stressful for so many.

"It's often a trigger point a stressful time for a lot of our clients. The holidays are really supposed to remind us of joy, cheer, and be a time we spend with family and friends, but not everyone has the same experience around the holidays," said Moore.

Gaudenzia has tips for those in recovery and/or trying to maintain sobriety - and Moore says one is planning ahead with a relapse prevention plan.

"Maybe it's transportation, a back door, a sober friend or relative, or maybe it's you're bringing your own food and beverages to the event,” said Moore. “But all of those things would be you know good to include in your relapse prevention plan."

Moore says one important tip is celebrating relationships.

"Reflecting on the relationships identify the ones that are worth celebrating, as well as the ones that you want to avoid, and just make sure that you go through those relationships because each one can have its own strengths and weaknesses," said Moore.

Other tips include understanding and honoring your limits, keeping Naloxone on hand, doubling down on self-care, reaching out for support when you need it, being of service to others by volunteering someplace, and making sure you schedule medical appointments and refill medications ahead of time.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.