LiveSmart: Addiction – Don’t Let the Holidays Derail Your Recovery Efforts

[This piece was written by Patrick Carrese and Rachel Handler, executive directors of behavioral health services, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]

The holiday season can be a difficult one for individuals recovering from an addiction or struggling with an active addiction. Likewise, their families and loved ones are also struggling, as the physical and emotional separation addiction can create is often felt even more acutely during the holidays.

It can be difficult to face parties where merriment and alcohol use dominate, and gatherings of relatives that can bring on anxiety and unease. Add in the feelings of loss, sadness and regret that many feel this time of year and it can quickly become overwhelming.

For some, using a substance is a way of coping with that stress. During the holidays, stress is inevitable, so you need to have a plan. Knowing in advance how you are going to manage thoughts of substance abuse is crucial.

Managing your addiction, whether it is to alcohol, opioids or other substances, is possible with the right combination of targeted treatment and comprehensive social supports. You don’t have to fight the battle alone.

St. Peter’s Health Partners provides support and a safe place for individuals with a variety of addictions, providing access to outpatient, inpatient and detoxification treatment sites throughout the Capital Region. Treatment services include:

  • Psychosocial assessment
  • Medically managed withdrawal
  • Medical evaluation and stabilization
  • Psychiatric assessment
  • Medication management
  • Comprehensive treatment and discharge planning
  • Suboxone and opiate treatment services
  • Spirituality and 12-step groups

For those specifically struggling with opioid addiction, St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center (SPARC) and St. Mary’s Hospital operate four outpatient treatment sites that provide assessment, symptom relief, and care coordination for individuals seeking assistance. In addition, they provide access to community-based services to ensure ongoing success in the individual’s recovery program.

Care is provided at:

St. Peter’s Hospital
315 South Manning Blvd., Albany
Providing ambulatory detox services, with new patients admitted to service via the emergency department at St. Peter’s Hospital and Albany Memorial Hospital.

St. Mary’s Hospital
1300 Massachusetts Ave., Troy
Providing ambulatory detox services with walk-in admission Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Outside of regular business hours, patients admitted via the emergency department at Samaritan Hospital.

SPARC Cohoes
55 Mohawk Street, Cohoes
Providing ancillary withdrawal services Monday through Friday; accepting new patients Monday through Thursday.

SPARC Central Avenue
845 Central Avenue, Albany
Providing ancillary withdrawal services Monday through Friday; accepting new patients Monday through Thursday.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call the SPARC Admissions Department at 518-452-6700 or the St. Mary’s ambulatory detox at 518-268-5005. Visit us at for more information.

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