Thanksgiving Eve combines with the pandemic creating storm for people battling alcohol addiction

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INDIANAPOLIS — The night before Thanksgiving is often one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. For people battling addiction, it can be a tough night, and the pandemic may only make it worse.

“There is going to be a pressure if you’re in big groups to join in the festivities to drink to be part of it,” explains Tony Langstaff, Clinical Director at Landmark Recovery Indianapolis, “Opposite side is if you are isolating during a holiday, especially something like Thanksgiving, it makes it more challenging. You’re more inclined to want to drink.”

Langstaff says Landmark Recovery has seen a rise in drug and alcohol issues during the last few months. They say the isolation the pandemic brings can be a problem, in addition to rising job loss, financial stress, and medical stress. They tell patients to focus on their triggers and to develop the skills to overcome them. With months of shutdowns and isolation, a night like Thanksgiving Eve can add to the urge to go out and drink in a social setting. If your loved one is battling addiction, recovery advocates have some advice for you.

“Just talking to them about it like, ‘Hey, we know you’re trying to not to drink, how do you feel about us being around you,” says Langstaff.

The Indiana State Patrol (ISP) is encouraging people to refrain from small gatherings Thanksgiving Eve night because of the pandemic. They expect traffic patterns to remain the same despite lower capacities at bars and restaurants. They will be on patrol looking for drunk driving.

“We always gear up for this time of the year with the busy travel, and we do extend some hours for troopers,” details ISP Public Information Officer Sgt. John Perrine, “We give the warnings about drinking and driving, and tell people we are going to be out patrolling, and tragically every year we find ourselves on the scene of a fatal crash where alcohol is involved.”

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