The holidays are a time for family, friends, and celebration. However, when someone is in recovery from addiction or an eating disorder, the holiday season can be difficult to deal with. It is important to remember that even if someone has completed treatment or entered into long-term care that they still need support and encouragement during this time of the year.
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Supporting those in recovery during the holidays doesn't have to be difficult, it just requires some advance planning. This blog post will provide tips on how you can support your loved ones while also celebrating the joy of the season.
1) Be Available to Them
A great way to show your support is by making yourself available to them if they need someone to talk to or they need help in their recovery. It can be little things like not leaving their call or texts unanswered or offering to drive them to 12-step meetings.
It does not mean that you have to be on call 24/7. What is important is letting them know that you are there for them and being open to helping them if they need support.
2) Offer Support In Social Settings
Many people in recovery are often uncomfortable joining back into social situations and functions. They may feel awkward or afraid of being judged or criticized by the other guests. Make an effort to include them in family celebrations. Invite them if you have a gathering. You can even offer to go with them to the event so they don't have to go alone. During events, engage them in conversations and try not to leave them alone.
If they are having a hard time attending gatherings, you can also let them know that they are welcome to spend the holiday with your family if it would make them more comfortable. Offering this type of support and reassurance will help greatly reduce their anxiety during this season.
3) Avoid Being Weird About Their Situation
It's normal to feel awkward to someone who just came from rehab, especially if you have some unresolved conflicts. However, acting weird around someone in recovery can add to their anxiety and make them more uncomfortable. Avoid treating them differently like they are fragile or that they will relapse at a drop of a hat.
Instead, act natural especially during gatherings. Don't let past conflicts affect how you treat them. When you're not sure how to act, remember to choose to be kind.
4) Minimize Holiday Pressures
While being busy can help people in recovery forget their addiction troubles, keep in mind that this may not work for everyone. Try to minimize pressuring them to attend every holiday party, giving them unrealistic tasks, or asking them to buy everyone gifts. They may not be ready to go full-on holiday mode yet because it usually takes time for people in recovery to get back into the swing of things.
Plus, it is possible that they may be experiencing financial difficulties of their own so avoid requiring them to give expensive gifts or making them feel that they have to buy a gift for you and other family members. Instead, make them feel that turning up sober and clean will be enough.
5) Understand That They Have to Prioritize Their Recovery
It's important to give your recovering loved ones the time and space to also focus on themselves. For someone who is in addiction recovery, the priority should always be maintaining their sobriety journey. This is the only way they will be able to function not only for themselves but for their loved ones as well.
If they say no to a holiday party or they cannot help you decorate the Christmas tree because they have to attend a recovery meeting, don't feel upset or disappointed. Instead, be grateful that your loved one is working on something that will truly change their life.
Supporting someone through their addiction recovery journey will make a world of difference especially at this time of year when people feel most vulnerable. However, it can also be difficult so remember that you are not alone. Reach out for help if you need it and allow others to support your loved ones too.