We’re right in the middle of the holiday season. And while that might give you warm memories of family and friends, you know that it can also be a stressful time. That notion is especially true for someone recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction.
Factors like unhealthy eating, financial strain and busy schedules can all add to the stress of the holidays. For your loved one in recovery, all this extra stress combined with the breaking of their routine puts them at risk for relapse. You find yourself conflicted. You want them to be a part of the holidays, but you’re wondering how to help them stay sober.
What if you could help your loved one prepare for the challenges of the holiday season? After all, helping them maintain their recovery is a thoughtful gift in its own right. Keep reading to discover strategies you can use to help your loved one stay sober this holiday season.
4 Ways to Help Your Loved One in Recovery this Holiday Season
1. Talk to Your Loved One About Preparing Their Story
It’s common for people to ask what you’ve been up to during holiday get-togethers. You don’t want your loved one to be put in an awkward position or be caught off-guard. To help your loved one, start by talking to them about what they’re comfortable saying and how much they want others to know about their struggles with addiction.
Sharing your story is part of the personal growth of recovery. But if your loved one isn’t comfortable sharing all the details, respect their wishes. Help them practice the conversations they’re likely to experience. One of the leading reasons for relapse during the holidays is struggling with the stress and anxiety of social situations. That’s why planning ahead can be so beneficial and is a big part of holiday relapse prevention.
2. Help Them Map Out a Support System
Staying sober during the holidays can be more challenging for your loved one if they are out of their normal environment. A lot of holiday parties or seeing family and friends they don’t typically see could disrupt their recovery routine and put them on edge.
The best thing you can do in this regard is help your loved one maintain their recovery schedule as much as possible. For example, make sure they continue going to support group meetings and help them map out their support system.
Your loved one’s holiday schedule should include time for:
- Support groups and meetings
- Time set aside for daily exercise
- Giving them time to talk with their sponsor
- A safe and quiet place for them to unwind and relax
Make sure your loved one knows that they have the power to limit their time in stressful situations. For example, if a family argument or sensitive topic comes up, keep an eye on your loved one and help them exit the situation if it’s too stressful. A key component of holiday relapse prevention is helping you loved one lower their exposure to stress.
3. Help Your Loved One Set Boundaries
The holidays are all about family and friends coming together to spend time with each other. While the essence of the holidays is to be grateful for these relationships, don’t be afraid to remind your loved one that their recovery comes first.
How can you help your loved one with the stress of trying to spend time with everyone who reaches out? Help them set up an open house. Just like when you’re buying a house, set up a set time where family and friends can visit. Having people come to your loved one makes things much easier to manage. It also has the benefit of cutting down on any guilt or stress your loved one might feel from not being able to see everyone.
This all relates back to boundaries. Helping your loved one determine what their limits are can help ease holiday stress and lower their risk of relapse.
4. Volunteer with Your Loved One
The holidays offer plenty of opportunities to give back. Did you know that helping others can actually have a positive impact on your loved one’s recovery? And there’s a way where you can help your loved one pay it forward.
From serving a meal at a homeless shelter to helping organize a toy drive, there’s plenty of ways to express your gratitude this year. Talk with your loved one and see if they’re interested in volunteering with you. Having someone to volunteer with can be the difference.
Oftentimes, one of the main goals of recovery is to build self-worth. By helping your loved one contribute to something bigger than themselves, they can find an empowering sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Find Support for Your Loved One’s Sobriety at Silver Maple Recovery
As the only residential treatment program in Lorain, Ohio, we know how challenging the holidays can be for those in recovery. But healing from an addiction to drugs or alcohol isn’t something your loved one has to do alone.
If your loved one is struggling with addiction or has relapsed, we can help them get their life back on track. We offer a continuum of care that begins with detox to get the drugs out of their system, then transitions to residential treatment, outpatient treatment and sober living.
If you think your loved one could benefit from addiction treatment, contact us today. We have a team of professional caregivers who are ready to speak with you 24/7. Together, we can help your loved one break the cycle of the addiction this holiday season.