MINNEAPOLIS — The holidays are going to be hard for a lot of people, but the season is even worse for those who suffer from addiction.
Isolation and anxiety are triggers, but there is help. Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge is open and ready for anyone who needs them.
“The network of people that I created while I was here is definitely key to my staying sober,” said Brittany Hass, who graduated from the program earlier this year.
She now has a plan to help her make it through the holidays.
"I have to really make an effort to find new ways to reach out and stay a part of and really actively seek that out or I'm definitely in danger of going back," she said.
Alcohol and drug use have gone way up during the pandemic. Addiction feeds off of the isolation and anxiety that has come with it. Add in winter, holidays, and mental health issues, and the situation can feel bleak.
“People are very much feeling overwhelmed, very much struggling, and actually not reaching out for the help that they need,” said Dr. Tim Walsh, Vice President of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge.
Dr. Walsh said the problem can be worse for women, who often put their own needs last.
“Women, when they come into our program, are often in worse shape than the men because they waited too long, because they feel like they have to hold everything together for everyone else," he said.
Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge has programs and beds across the state. They are open even - and especially - during COVID. You don't have to do this alone.
“You’re not meant to do this alone and you're not going to do this alone,” said Kelsey Eller, MNTC Long-Term Women’s Director.
“The holiday seasons, they're going to look a lot different for you at Teen Challenge," she said. "We're going to celebrate you; we're going to celebrate with you. We are going to redefine what the holiday season looks like for you."
And if there's one message you need to hear, it's this:
“Reach out. There are people who want to love you wherever you're at. Whether it be at a meeting, or at Teen Challenge, or at a church, or wherever you feel comfortable reaching out to someone, just reach out,” said Brittany.
There are many ways to reach Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. You can call 612-FREEDOM, text MNTC to 900900 or visit their website at mntc.org.