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New York Center for Living Advises Holiday Stress Can Trigger Teens to Lose Sobriety

Family Support is Crucial - Especially During the Holidays

NEW YORK, Dec. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For teens in recovery from abusing alcohol or other drugs, holiday stress can trigger relapse. Nearly two million American teens meet the criteria for substance abuse according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), yet many never receive the treatment they need. For those who do seek treatment, 75% relapse within one year after returning to school.  

Jill Backfield, Ph.D., Executive Director and Director of Clinical Services of New York Center for Living advises families, "Model desired behavior at holiday parties. Teens view their parents as role models on issues of using alcohol. Holiday family gatherings are an ideal opportunity where parents and grandparents can demonstrate the responsible use of alcohol to younger generations."

Parents can create new holiday family traditions that are not focused on alcohol such as:

  • Bake and cook together
  • Have a game night
  • Volunteer as a family and help make the holidays special for others less fortunate
  • Parents and grandparents share personal stories from the good ole days
  • Create a Gratitude List – Recall things that you are grateful for beginning with each letter of the alphabet

For teens in recovery, find new ways to celebrate during the holidays:

  • Bring a friend from your recovery group if you want to go to a party
  • Talk with your therapist or sponsor before a party and plan to connect after the party
  • Plan ahead and have an 'escape plan' to leave the party if you feel pressured
  • Encourage your friends and family to get other recovering friends to volunteer together and help others
  • Ask your family to host a holiday gathering for your teen and friends in recovery

Dr. Backfield advises, "Attending holiday parties and leaving your teen who is struggling with sobriety home alone is not the best idea. When families - parents, siblings and other family members - make a commitment and enter into teen sobriety as a family it benefits the entire family."

About New York Center for Living
The New York Center for Living an intensive, outpatient recovery center, located in Manhattan, and has had tremendous success treating adolescents and young adults, ages 13-26, who suffer from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders such as ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, overeating, cutting and others that complicate a teen-ager's recovery from drugs and alcohol. The center offers a comprehensive, abstinence-based recovery community for young people and believes strongly that addiction is a disease of the family and focuses on treating families and not just the adolescent and young adult. For more information please visit www.centerforliving.org or call 212-712-8800.

SOURCE New York Center for Living

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