Fresno recovery center sees increase in patients during new year

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Many people like to start the new year fresh by giving up bad habits for good ones.

'Dry January' has become a popular New Year's resolution, where participants go alcohol-free for the month.

During this period, treatment centers will also see an increase in people reaching out for recovery services.

The pandemic has presented a variety challenges for people, and they can be even greater for those struggling with alcohol or drug addiction.

"People get depressed. They lose community," said Vikki Luna, founder and director of The Light-House Recovery Program. "So it's often during times like this that substance abuse increases. It's on the rise."

Despite the increase, Luna said the Fresno organization didn't see people reaching out for help throughout much of the pandemic.

Only four completed the program last year.

She believes it's because many places were closed, and lots of people were stuck at home and not going out into the community.

"Substance abuse was not being discovered in people's lives so it was left unattended," Luna said.

However, that's changing in the new year.
When winter comes around, especially January, Luna said there's always an increase in people wanting to join the program. The organization received three new clients this week, for a total of 21 people receiving recovery services.

"People have reflected on the previous year, and where they want to be the following year," Luna explained. "It's often a time to hit the reset button."

While these clients are working toward a lifestyle change, Luna knows a month of zero alcohol can be difficult. She said having a good support system that will hold you accountable makes a huge difference.

"Getting back involved with people and life while you maintain sobriety," she shared.

Dry January is also something people may choose to do for their health, even if they don't struggle with addiction. Regardless of the reason, Luna said the new year is the perfect opportunity to create better habits.

She said: "You deserve it."

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