December 15, 2020

Navigating the Holidays with Family Members in Recover

The holiday season encourages us to turn our thoughts toward gratitude, generosity and compassion, as tradition brings us to the table with our friends and family. Yet, the holidays are also a time of stressful situations, chaotic schedules and potential recklessness. For those in recovery, such issues are amplified. But there are ways to celebrate holidays safely, comfortably and joyously. Here are some tips on how to do it properly:

1. Protect everyone’s health, first and foremost. Always follow social distancing guidelines for your community. This may be a year of virtual gatherings, but they can be just as special and healing.

2. Ask yourself and other family members if you’re ready to celebrate the holiday with someone in recovery. Check to see if your family understands addiction or if there are some unresolved issues or resentments between the person in recovery and your other guests. Addiction affects everyone, and shame or denial can hurt the person in recovery or even expose them to some risky behavior. So it’s perfectly reasonable to see if the family is ready.

3. Ask the person in recovery if they are comfortable attending holiday events this season. Reach out to your friend or family member who is in recovery to explain that it’s perfectly okay to miss the celebration if that’s best for their recovery; their recovery is the priority. It is better for them to go or stay where they feel safe than to put them at unnecessary risk. There is always the next year, and it’s better they properly recover now so you can share many happy future events.

4. Ask what you can do. You’re not responsible for your family member’s recovery. And you don’t have to move mountains to host a person in recovery. You can reach out to them and ask if there’s anything you can do to help the event go smoothly for them.

5. If you’re planning on having alcohol at your holiday event, check to see if your guest is comfortable with that. Even virtual events where others are drinking can be hard for some. And, even if you’re willing to host an alcohol-free event, a guest in recovery may feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not served just for their sake. Reassure them that your goal is to share the holidays with them rather than to have alcoholic drinks on hand.

6. Ask your recovering guest if they would like to bring someone as their support. Whether you’re hosting an alcoholic-free party or not, your recovering guest may feel more comfortable bringing their recovery coach or someone else from their support group.

7. Ask them what beverages they would like to have. If you’re safely hosting an in-person gathering, the best thing you can do is ask your recovering guest what kind of drink they would like to have at your party. Try to avoid mocktails because they may be a trigger, especially for someone in the early days of their recovery.

Holidays can be stressful for everyone, and not just the recovering member in your family. Try not to put too much focus on them, and just try to show love to all. This can only result in a loving environment in which everyone wants to be, including the recovering family member. If you or a loved one needs help with this or any other issue, Communicare is here for you. Take a look at our services and don't hesitate to contact us!