The holidays can be a stressful time for many people, but for those in recovery from addiction, the added pressure can put them at risk of relapse.
The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health finds that 7.1% of Hispanic Americans have a substance use disorder. Studies also show that Hispanic adults who do drink tend to drink more heavily than other ethnicities.
Omar Corro, senior director of operations at Rincon Family Services, said a major issue is family members not understanding what an individual in recovery might be going through, especially during the holidays.
“Imagine, for example, going to a party and then everybody in the party is kind of pushing you to, ‘Have that one drink with me,’” Corro said. “To someone in recovery, that’s very detrimental, and it’s a huge trigger.”
Evelyn Delgado, manager of the Medication Assisted Treatment Program at Esperanza Health Center, said overcoming stigma is also an issue within Latino communities.
“The thought that substance use is a moral issue, it’s a lack of willpower is so pertinent within the community,” Delgado said. “It’s not something that’s talked about, and when somebody is struggling with these substances or struggling with these issues, oftentimes they don’t seek treatment because they’re afraid or concerned about what the family might say.”
Craig Darragh, therapist at Metropolitan Family Services, said that the holidays can be tough for everyone, but especially for those in recovery because of parties where people are celebrating and drinking, stressful family dynamics and busy schedules.
“Set some boundaries with yourself, seek out support, seek out treatment and just don’t do it alone,” Darragh said.