Sudbury

Sudbury woman offers tips on staying sober during the holidays

The holidays are known for being a time of relaxation, kicking back, and having a nice glass of wine, but for some people, the latter part makes the holidays that much more difficult.

Callie Piticco has been in recovery for 14 years

Callie Piticco recently celebrated two years clean from alcohol and drug addiction. (Kirthana Sasitharan/CBC)

The holidays are known for being a time of relaxation, kicking back, and having a nice glass of wine, but for some people, the latter part makes the holidays that much more difficult.

People going through alcohol addiction recovery can sometimes feel triggered around the holidays with the social drinking and alcohol consumption that's a part of the festivities.

Callie Piticco of Sudbury has been in recovery for 14 years. When she first started seeking help, she says she only did so to get her boyfriend and her mom "off her back."

"Finally, I had my bottom," she said. "My bottom was more or less I was in handcuffs kind of coming to life in an ambulance."

That experience prompted her to seek help to address her addiction for good. She says it has been a difficult but rewarding process.

"We are so not used to taking care of ourselves and we lack self-compassion, most of us," she said.

"It's kind of scary to say, I can't be that selfish. But, in order to recover, we have to be."

As for how she copes during the holidays, she says it's important to have supports close by, such as calling a friend or having an exit strategy.

Dr. Subramanya Bhagavatula is a psychiatrist at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. (Kirthana Sasitharan/CBC)

"Sometimes the thought of not getting through it came up and I would feel kind of helpless or hopeless," she said.

"But [I learned] to take it just one day at a time and even sometimes one minute at a time. That really, really helps."

She came up with coping strategies, such as attending events for a short amount of time.

"So it didn't typically bother me whenever somebody was drinking."

Dr. Subramanya Bhagavatula is a psychiatrist at Health Sciences North who specializes in addiction and how alcoholism affects patients during the holiday. He agrees having support is key.

"It's not like they want to get back into this problem," he said.

"Many people still have this idea that 'maybe I can do with a drink or two.' That is the pitfall. Once they start, they go downhill."

Piticco recently celebrated being two years clean from alcohol and drug addiction.

With files from Kirthana Sasitharan

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