Helping Loved Ones in Recovery
Stay Sober During the Holidays
At Roots Recovery, we understand that sobriety is never easy, and this is especially true around the holidays, which is why some of your loved ones, friends, and relatives can often feel anxious as the festive season approaches. In this piece, we’re looking at some common challenges that people in recovery face during this time of year, and how we can be supportive in these times to make the holidays inclusive, safe, and enjoyable for your loved ones.
Dealing with Drinking
Alcohol has always been associated with the holidays, stretching from before Halloween to after St. Patrick’s Day. Its presence at family holiday gatherings is often not subtle either, as it becomes incorporated into meals, major life announcements, and more. Alcohol consumption plays a major role in how many people celebrate, which can be extremely hard on someone who’s struggled with their drinking and has made the decision to get sober.
To support sober loved ones, make sure there are non-alcoholic versions of holiday drinks available throughout the holidays, or if everyone’s on board, only offer alcohol-free drinks. Eggnog without the brandy, sparkling cider, or even just a regular punch bowl can still keep the good times rolling.
The Stress of Socializing
When someone takes time to work on themselves, they’ll often reevaluate or try to fix certain relationships. Friends who may have been bad influences might want to reconnect during the holidays, or family members who were abusive or part of a toxic or chaotic relationship may be in attendance at holiday gatherings. Whether your loved one is trying to set boundaries or repair a damaged relationship, they might not be prepared to do so right now.
Ask your loved one in recovery about their plans, and if they seem hesitant about certain hangouts or family gatherings, offer alternatives. Suggest a trip to a seasonal light show or sleigh ride with hot cocoa instead of seeing old friends over beers. Simple things like this, or helping to guide conversations at family gatherings so that your loved one can avoid difficult topics they’re not ready for, can make a huge difference in the support they feel this time of year.
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Around the Holidays
If someone in recovery doesn’t have any plans except those involving negative influences or being around addictive substances, the safe choice, at least in terms of avoiding temptations and triggers, might be to stay home. However, when it’s cold, dark, and everyone around seems to be happily engaging with loved ones, it’s all too easy for someone in recovery to find themselves going back to old habits when nobody’s around to keep them busy. This is especially true if they’ve only recently finished their initial treatment and are still rebuilding a support system and reconnecting with family they haven’t seen for some time.
To someone in recovery, even small gestures from a friend or family member can make an unimaginable difference. Send them a heartfelt Christmas card, invite them to seasonal festivities, and really make them feel like you want them to be there with you. If you can’t visit in person, carve out some time in your day for a phone call or organize a few digital movie nights. You can’t be their entire life, and neither you or your loved one should expect that, but you can be someone they look forward to spending time with.
Roots Recovery Prepares People for Lasting Recovery
At Roots Recovery, many of our staff have been through rehab, and we understand firsthand how important it is that we prepare our clients for the world beyond our doors. We recognize the unique difficulties that come from trying to maintain sobriety and self-care during a chaotic and lengthy holiday season, and we use both evidence-based and holistic therapies to get our clients ready to face any challenges or triggers that the holidays present.
If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction this holiday season, call our experienced admissions team at 844.447.6687 to learn more about how we can help.