‘Tis the season for cheer and merriment, reflection and giving. This is the season for friends, family, and parties. For many, the holiday season is a time of togetherness and fun. But for those battling addiction, the holidays and recovery can be a stressful combination.
Many people enjoy all the holiday trappings. They love music, shopping, baking, and celebrating. But some people would prefer to let it all pass them by, and that’s okay too. If you or a loved one would like support navigating the holidays and your recovery, reach out to the counselors at Fair Park Counseling today.
Holidays and Recovery: Recovery Doesn’t Take a Break
Regardless of the joy and festivity, the holiday season is notorious for being stressful for anyone. And those who have a loved one in recovery over the holidays know the stress all too well. Staying sober is never an easy task. Maintaining sobriety at any time is difficult. Doing so during the holidays can be overwhelming.
In addition to handling financial, time, and family commitments, someone in recovery has to focus on staying sober. The holidays and recovery don’t often go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the season is set up for them to fail. Your loved one in recovery will need your help this holiday season to maintain their sobriety.
Addiction and substance abuse take a toll on everyone involved, not just the person living in addiction. Give yourself permission to seek help when needed so that you have the tools to stay healthy and to help your loved one. Your Fair Park Counseling team can help.
Stay Alert for Signs of Struggle
As the calendar turns to days filled with turkey and stuffing, remember that you are an essential part of your loved one’s recovery structure. Your awareness, patience, and support can be the difference-maker in their sobriety journey. This is the time of year to be alert to potential pitfalls.
The holidays and recovery are not great companions due to the excessive availability of alcohol. Regardless of where your loved one is in their recovery, they have a higher risk of relapse during this season. Overindulgence can create a chaotic environment where the sober person feels additional stress from inebriated friends and family.
Steps You Can Take to Support a Loved One’s Recovery During the Holidays
Whenever possible, set up your recovering loved one for success. There are many reasonable things that you can do to help them during the holidays. With these tips, the upcoming season can remain the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Be Grateful
Showing gratitude is one of the simplest things you can do to make it a great holiday for your recovering loved one. Being genuinely grateful for their decision to get themselves healthy and whole again is empowering.
This feeling of gratitude is like an anchor for their recovery process and is especially critical during the holidays. Show them how much you appreciate and support their decision to get clean.
2. Be Bold Enough to Ask Questions
A significant part of the recovery process is embracing the personal responsibility that comes with staying sober. When talking with your loved one, don’t feel like you need to tiptoe around the issue. Ask them what you can do to support them. Find out what they feel worried or anxious about in the upcoming holiday season. Have an honest conversation about how they will navigate the temptations that are sure to come.
For some in recovery, talking about their struggles is very difficult. Be patient, but be persistent. Keep asking questions and expecting answers so that you can help your loved one make a plan.
It’s important to note, though, that you are not doing the work of recovery for them. You are not responsible for anyone’s sobriety. Be clear that your goal is to support your loved one and their sober journey in any way you can, but they have to do the work.
3. Be Flexible
In the past, did the holiday season mean that you and your family blew the doors off and threw a rip-roaring party for the entire neighborhood? If so, maybe this is the year to tone it down. Consider having a quieter holiday celebration without alcohol and with fewer people to navigate. Consider spending time volunteering with your recovering loved one, instead of hosting the party of the year.
If you do choose to host a party, make sure to have non-alcoholic beverages, plenty of food, and a place where someone can chill out without being in the thick of the party. If your loved one wants to leave, that’s okay. There may be a good reason for them wanting to go, so take them seriously.
4. Pay Attention
One of the best ways to support the recovery of a loved one over the holidays is to be present with them. There is a saying in sports that availability is the most important ability of them all. The holidays and recovery are much easier when there’s compassionate support.
When you attend a holiday event with your recovering friend or family member, they know you are in their corner. Recovery can be incredibly lonely. Make an effort to call them, be with them, and let them know you are available.
Of course, it is not your job to be a babysitter. You cannot work a recovery program for your loved one, and you are not required to be there 24/7. When they need space, give it to them. When you need a break, take it. Keep the communication open and the support flowing so they can navigate the obstacles that the holidays and recovery create.
Get Expert Help to Handle the Holidays and Recovery
This season is about being together with the ones you love. But when someone you love is struggling to remain sober, the holidays can be very tricky to handle.
For expert support and advice, reach out to the therapists at Fair Park Counseling. Our highly-trained, compassionate counselors offer outpatient therapy, group counseling, and family support. We are here to assist you and your loved ones in maintaining a happy holiday season, even in recovery.