For someone in recovery, the holidays can be a time of enormous pressure, temptation and emotional triggers. For family or friends of someone in recovery it can also be a time of stress in wondering how to act and how to be supportive.
The good news is – with a little planning, you can be there for your loved one and all enjoy the happiness that the holidays may bring.
Here are some do’s and don’ts:
DO – Talk about it.
Fears and apprehensions about the holidays, parties and drinking may leave someone who is in recovery in a whirlwind of emotions. So why not nip it in the bud and have an open discussion? Talk about both of your fears, how you will handle certain situations or people, and which situations or people you may need to avoid. Talking openly and honestly will equip you both with a plan of attack.
DO – Help your loved one stick to his or her recovery plan.
The holidays throw schedule curve balls and social commitments that might upset your recovery plan. During the holidays, it’s more important than ever for someone in recovery to attend his/her regular Al-Anon meetings, see his/her counselor and check in with his/her sponsor. All other positive activities that help alleviate stress, such as exercise should take precedence over other activities.
DON’T – Make alcohol the center of the holiday event.
Just because your child, friend or cousin is recovering, doesn’t’ mean you have to serve only non-alcoholic beverages during holiday gatherings. However, if your parties turn into overindulging fests, you might want to consider not serving it all together. As a measure of solidarity, you can personally opt not to drink.
Instead of centering the festivities around drinking, why not make up a new holiday tradition, play a game, watch a holiday movie or turn on some music and dance? Getting everyone to have fun (minus the booze) will result in a positive and stress free household.
DO – Embrace holiday cheer by doing something for others.
When someone is recovering, they are understandably more focused on themselves than anything or anybody else. Shift the focus and do something kind for others. Visit a shelter, serve food, or even start a neighborhood collection of toys or coats. This might be one of the best ways to bond as a family — and take everyone’s mind off of the serious stuff.
The holidays can be a stressful time for many people — especially those in recovery. You are not alone. The dedicated staff at Horizon is here to help. If you’d like more information about our family addictions services, visit our website or give us a call at 716.831.1800.
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