Watertown— The holidays is a time to spend with friends and family, which can be a joyous occasion. However, there are some people that do not have family nearby or perhaps have gone through a difficult and trying year. ABC50 spoke with Executive Director of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County, Bill Bowman has been with ASAC for 25 years.
Mr. Bowman explained that over the holidays, the center sees a rise in depression and drinking. Bowman explained, “A lot of people don’t have anyone which is difficult especially during this joyous season. The holidays are really tough for some individuals.” The most important thing to understand, according to Bowman, is that you don’t have to be alone. There are services in the community that are confidential and free of charge. “It is not necessarily abnormal to feel down this time of year”, said Bowman. He went on to say that drinking often makes things worse. It is important to talk about your problems, as opposed to turning to the bottle or a substance.
The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County primarily works as a short-term program, which helps connect community members with informational referral services and primary prevention services. Although only a short-term program, Bowman said- “The beauty of our services is that Monday through Friday from 8 to 5, someone will always be available to talk to you when you need it. You can simply walk in.”
Those who are successful at beating the holiday blues and refraining from turning to alcohol or other substances, are those that get the support that they need for their problems. Individuals who lean on a family, friends, or resources can avoid getting involved in things can cause more problems, such as alcohol or other substances. According to Bowman, triggers tend to be someone who has lost a job, a death in the family, lost a home, or experiencing some sort of dramatic life change. The elderly who have no family nearby are also vulnerable this time of year, especially if family members are away.
Bowman encouraged those that might be struggling, “Loneliness is more difficult around the holidays, but if you reach out you can get the help that you need and realize that you are not alone.” If you think you might need assistance this time of year, contact the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council at (315) 788-4660.