For many, enjoying the holidays with an addicted loved one can be anything but joyful. For a substance addict, the holidays often come with triggers and an increased risk of relapse. If there’s an addict in your family, simple steps are available so you all enjoy the time safely.
First, we suggest talking as a family about holiday plans, like family members attending, specific events, and locations. This way, your loved one knows what to expect and can decide if it is something that may trigger them. It also is a chance to offer possible alternative activities. Make sure they know that the goal is for everyone to enjoy themselves.
Listen and Act
After talking, show your loved ones that you’re open to change for them. If they’re worried about the annual family Christmas party, let them know that they don’t have to go. Let them know you’re willing to do something else with them. If certain family members cause anxiety or distress, consider spending this time apart from them for your loved one or address why they are causing negative feelings. Whatever you do, make them feel heard and understood.
Remember, community is essential in recovery. So, another alternative to not attending events is encouraging your loved one to attend an AA/NA meeting, speak more frequently with their sponsor, or attend specific events for those in the recovery community. Addiction is a disease of isolation, and the holidays can serve as a painful reminder of this.
Remember Your Reasons
Finally, remember that the goal is to help your loved one continue to live in healthy recovery. If the holidays aren’t what they have been in previous years, that’s okay. Also, stay true to the boundaries that you’ve previously set with your loved one during this time. As always, you are not alone. Happy Holidays.
If interested in learning more about MARR, the first step is a phone call or message to our Clinical Assessment Team. Our licensed and certified clinicians are available for a confidential and complimentary conversation about the next steps you can take to get help. Call us at (678) 736-8694, or you can reach out via the chatbox.