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Information about the author of this post.
Cindy Bowling, LCSW
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The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has arrived, looking very different for most everyone this year as compared with years past. While the upcoming holiday season means something different to everyone, what is known is that feelings of stress and overwhelm around family, expectations and financial strain are markedly increased from November through the end of the year.
 With levels of increased stress during this time of the year, also come climbing risks of substance use and abuse. Whether within the family, within a friend group or personally, substance use and co-occurring issues touch many of us in some way. And given the current pandemic, incidence of substance use and abuse have increased due to the presence of uncertainty, job loss or job insecurity, lack of consistent connection with social support and limited access to activities or people that bring joy and keep us grounded.
The resources below address a variety of topics and offer suggestions to those who struggle with substance abuse and the triggers that come with the holiday. This time of year is very often a time of excess and is filled with expectation, both from society and ourselves. Please take time to read through the resources that appear to most reflect the struggles you are currently facing and remember that while substance use and abuse are often difficult issues to talk about, there are people who can and will support you. Take good care of yourself and remember that you are not alone.