The holidays are a time of joy. But among all the joy sits the reality of life. Your loved one in recovery is dealing with their new life and this time of year might bring about reminders or triggers that could put them at risk for relapse.
While you do need to remember to set boundaries, supporting your loved one will go a long way in their recovery process. Remember, recovery doesn’t take a break, and your loved one may need your help to get through the holidays. Westwind Recovery® is here for you.
Why the Holidays Are Especially Hard
Besides everyday stress and holiday stress, those in recovery have to focus on staying sober. And while the compulsion to drink or take drugs might not change during the holidays, there’s likely to be more triggers present. Triggers such as people, places, things, and negative emotions, as well as contact with drugs or alcohol, are the most common triggers for relapse.
Ways You Can Support a Loved One in Recovery
There are many ways you can help a loved one in recovery at an alcohol addiction treatment center during the holidays. Each individual in recovery will be working at their own pace, so be sure to be flexible with your support.
Encourage Open Communication
One of the most important things you can do is keep the communication lines open. Consider asking your loved one how they feel and how you can best support them. During this time, you can discuss their feelings on the holidays, how much or how little they want to be involved, and any boundaries you feel need to be in place.
Don’t Make Alcohol a Focus
It doesn’t matter if your loved one is a recovering alcoholic or was addicted to drugs–you need to remove or limit all instances of potentially addictive substances. Don’t make it the center of any dinners or parties, and consider letting guests know if you desire to keep it alcohol-free this year.
Limit Stressful Situations
Since stress is a major trigger, limiting stressful situations is key. Planning ahead will help avoid some stress, as will being flexible with timing and events. Try taking a more carefree approach to the holidays this year, and make time to indulge in relaxing activities together. And if you normally have a big party, consider a smaller family gathering this year.
Provide Opportunities to Connect
Your loved one needs to have access to other people in their support system. Let them invite their sponsor (no one has to know who it is) or another friend in recovery to help them feel more comfortable. Remind them about meetings at an outpatient rehab center and even consider attending one with them. And invite them to events instead of assuming they won’t want to attend so they feel included.
Practice Grace and Forgiveness
Remember that addiction is not their fault; it’s a disease. Give them some grace during this time and help them find forgiveness in relation to how they’ve affected the family. Let them know you understand how they may feel and that it’s completely normal. And be sure not to jump to conclusions about their behavior or call them out, including making them the subject of jokes.
Even though you aren’t going to jump to conclusions, you still need to watch for any potential signs of relapse. If you feel they are becoming more on edge, offer them some space or to take a walk. It’s important to let them feel how they feel and to know that they may not be in a great mood all the time.
Get Help During the Holidays
Call Westwind Recovery® today at 855.340.8832 to inquire about our recovery center, where we can help you or a loved one get on the path to recovery. We provide support through your entire recovery process with a special focus on your mental health.