Happy Holidays: Keep Calm, Have Fun, Don’t Go to Jail
This is going to be short. I have spent most of this evening decorating, watching Christmas movies, and eating Candy Cane Hershey Kisses.
This time of year is wondrous. People are nicer, our homes and the stores are decorated, and people are giving each other gifts. We get to spend time with friends and loved ones. It’s great.
However, it is no coincidence that lots of people go to jail at this time of year. Be sure it’s not you.
DWI arrests increase during this time of the year. People are at holiday parties, happy hours, and holiday events at which alcohol is being served in great quantities. People may also be using drugs. This is particularly true on New Year’s Eve. People make mistakes and get behind the wheel. It is really important – for your own safety, the safety of others, and to avoid arrest – that you make alternative arrangements to get home safely. Lots of bars give taxi vouchers and there are ride share services that are easy to use. It’s not true that ride share has completely left Austin. Make arrangements to get home – have a plan – before you go out.
If you are sober and/or in recovery, this time of year is very stressful. Lots of people relapse. Go to a meeting if you feel like you are in trouble or thinking about using. If you relapse, you may overuse and put yourself in danger of arrest. Overdoses are frequent with people using again after a long period of sobriety.
Seeing family is stressful for some people. It may lead to an increase in substance use if you have stress around seeing family or not seeing family. In the LGBT community, some people can’t go home and may feel very alone on the holidays. This may lead to increased substance use. Again, if you are feeling prone to using or overusing, go to a meeting or reach out to a trusted person.
Stress around money is high during the holidays. Substance use is high. We are seeing family. This leads to tempers flaring in some families and this leads to many, many arrests for assault – family violence. Again, having a plan is crucial. If you are going to be around a family member that you know gets under your skin, have a plan that you will follow if things get tense. Do not use substances around this person. Plan to leave and leave safely if things get heated. If you are in a pattern of family violence and you are the aggressor, you need to get help and most likely take steps to remove yourself from the person you are assaulting before you do the unthinkable. If you are being assaulted, you need to contact services in your area to develop a plan to get away from that individual before you get seriously hurt or worse.
The holidays are great but it brings issues with family and life in general in focus, and this can lead to a great deal of stress. This is turn leads to behavior that can get you arrested. Think about things prior to them getting out of hand, and have a plan on what to do if you feel like the holiday stress is getting the better of you.
Jail is a terrible place to spend Christmas or ring in the New Year. Don’t start off 2017 with a court date. Do what you can now to make sure you have a happy and healthy holiday and new year.