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At Oxford Treatment Center, holiday programs celebrate the season while weaving in clinical goals that support long-term recovery.
Experiential therapy programs including art, music and recreational therapy offer holiday activities that focus on giving back to the community. This year, holiday activities include making holiday cards for friends, family and local hospitals; creating ornaments; and decorating areas around the center together.
At Christmas, patients and staff will share a Southern-style feast featuring turkey and dressing, chicken Florentine, candied yams, and three flavors of homemade pie.
“We focus on getting everyone together,” said Tori Ossenheimer, CTRS, Director of Experiential Services, who is leading holiday programming at the Oxford Treatment Center. “It can be hard to be away from home during the holidays. We found patients benefit most when we fill this season with structured activities and opportunities to process together.”
“The practice of coming together and reflecting on one’s experience during the holidays can be a powerful therapeutic experience.”
Oxford Treatment Center provides a full continuum of care for drug and alcohol addiction at two campuses in Oxford and Etta, Miss. While individual therapy is part of treatment at all levels of care, group sessions and activities are central to the treatment program.
For some, this is the first holiday they have spent sober or not fighting with their family.
Clinical Director Jerri Avery, Ph.D., said the benefits to being together in a community of people who are familiar with what you are going through is a substantial benefit to being in treatment — especially during the holidays.
“The holidays are about spending time with the people you care about,” Avery said. “Each person who makes up the community here cares about each other. They want to help one another get better, and they understand what someone else is going through.”
“The peer support that comes from that shared experience provides a lot of power.”
While many are hesitant to consider treatment during the holidays, Avery says the benefits are substantial.
“Choosing treatment during the holidays for yourself or a loved one seems unusual, but it can truly be the best gift that you give yourself or your loved one,” she said.
“For those struggling with a substance use disorder, there is no safer place to be during the holidays than in a secure, caring treatment location. Entering treatment removes the usual stress associated with holidays. In a separate, calm environment like this, you can remove all the risk factors.”
Avery said that stepping away from one’s normal environment and routine during the holidays can be an important step in finding recovery from addiction.
“What we see a lot is that patients experience clarity being here,” she said. “Patients look back on taking that step to seek treatment as one of the most significant investments they have ever made.”
“For some, this is the first holiday they have spent sober or not fighting with their family,” Avery said. “I think that is the most valuable gift that someone could give their family.”