Holidays add to stress for those dealing with addiction - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Holidays add to stress for those dealing with addiction


The holidays is a time known for bringing families together - decorating, gatherings, gift giving. 

But for some, it's a time that can tear families apart. 

"It's a trap that's difficult to get out of," Paul said. 

Twenty-three million people struggle with addiction in the United States every day. 

"It filled a hole and void in my being that, this is it," Ross said. 

Addiction - whether it's to illegal drugs, alcohol or prescription pills - is a disease that kills three to four people per day in Tennessee. 

These two men got help before becoming part of that statistic. 

Paul was addicted to methamphetamine and Ross is a former alcoholic. 

HOW TO GET HELP | Council for Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services

Both say the stress that comes with the holiday season can fuel an addiction even after becoming sober. 

"Even if the places that you're going are completely supportive of what you're doing, it can be a stressful thing," Ross said. 

Ross helps ease that stress by giving himself control. 

If he's at a gathering with his wife and starts to feel a trigger coming on, he knows it's time to go. 

It's called having an out and is something former addicts are taught to maintain sobriety. 

"I had to realize that all of those people, aren't alcoholics. So they don't understand what the feeling is. So I had to surround myself with people who are in recovery," he added. 

Paul knows sometimes situations can alter his perception-- A common feeling among former addicts. 

"If I start to feel left out of certain groups or certain festivities, things like that. It can influence the way I perceive my sobriety," he said. 

Paul and Ross now use their stories to help others understand how addiction can cloud the brain. 

Two examples of what it's like to regain sobriety and move into recovery. 

"That can be a shaky stage for a while. The one early on, I think it's important to know that you're not the only one that feels this way. There's help out there and it is available," Paul said. 

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