Being in recovery during the holidays is hard. If you have a loved one who struggles with substance abuse and has gone to drug rehab, their journey is far from over. They still have to make a conscious effort to stay sober every day. The holidays can present unique challenges because of the temptation that’s more likely to be around, as well as additional stressors from seeing extended family, spending money on gifts, and managing holiday commitments.
While the holiday season can be stressful, it’s important to keep things in check so that the stress doesn’t turn into a desire to use drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, there are things you can do to support your loved one and help them avoid triggering situations. Below are some of the best ways to support someone who is going through recovery during the holidays.
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Many of us have the desire to make the holidays perfect. While this is stressful in itself, it’s important not to push your expectations off on your loved one. You wouldn’t do this on purpose, of course, but you may do it unknowingly to fulfill your vision of a perfect holiday.
Remember that your loved one is still fragile and the holidays are creating extra challenges for them. Your idea of a good time at a holiday party could end up in relapse for them. Keep your expectations realistic and try to look at things from their perspective. Even though you might want more help or participation from them, you also want to protect their recovery.
Check-in to Support Your Loved One
As hectic as the holidays can be, make sure you take some time to be with your loved one. They’re likely feeling stressed or even a little resentful that they can enjoy the holidays like they used to.
To support someone to maintain recovery during the holidays check-in on your loved one and make sure they’re doing well. Give them the opportunity to make special requests, such as keeping events small or not attending a certain holiday dinner. It’s important that your loved one is open and honest with you rather than risking their recovery to appease others.
Be Their Accountability Partner
An accountability partner is someone who holds another person accountable for a certain decision or responsibility. In this case, it means helping your loved one stay on track with their recovery. Refresh yourself with their aftercare plan and make sure they’re taking care of themselves, following their plan, and attending their 12-step meetings. If they do go to a party, go with them and stay sober. Or at least stay on call so that they can contact you for a ride home if they're feeling uncomfortable.
Continue Educating Yourself on Addiction
It’s important to continue educating yourself on addiction and the different stages people go through. Unfortunately, addiction recovery rarely goes smoothly all of the time. There are setbacks and sometimes even relapse, but it’s important to know that a slip does not mean failure. The more you learn about addiction and read addiction recovery stories, the more you’ll learn that this is truly a unique journey where the work never stops.
If you find that your loved one could benefit from treatment, please contact Awakenings Treatment Center. We have various levels of treatment that allow for people in recovery to get the support they need to stay happy, healthy, and sober.