Family having fun at homeBeing in recovery during the holidays can be challenging, especially when the expectation is to be filled with happy holiday spirit. If you or someone you love is currently struggling with addiction or substance abuse this winter, there are ways to help support them without making them feel singled out. Making the effort to have a happy and healthy holiday season can make a world of difference in how well the rest of their recovery goes.

It’s important to understand the link between the holidays and substance abuse, especially when it comes to alcohol. Many see drug or alcohol use as a means to have a good time which makes celebrations a slippery slope. Even the most wholesome family gathering can still be met with secretive substance use without others noticing. There’s also often trauma associated with the holidays that can drive someone to more heavily abuse drugs or alcohol.

It Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Enjoy the Holidays

The overall sense of general anxiety around the holidays is something many of us share as we strive for a perfect winter holiday. For those in recovery, it’s important to take this into account and minimize the amount of extra stress and responsibilities are taken on. It doesn’t require spending every day on the couch, just don’t volunteer to cook every meal or hang up decorations for each house. Plus, keeping engaged with friends and family will make cravings easier to deal with or vanish completely.

Make sure someone trusted knows about the situation to help keep an eye on how things are developing. It’s important to step back and take a break in the event a feeling of being overwhelmed develops. Everyone that has gathered to be together for the holidays is there to support one another so don’t be concerned about asking for help when it’s needed. If you’re the one looking out for someone in recovery, try to check in periodically to show you’re there for them.

It Helps To Be Educated on Addiction

Talking openly about addiction or substance abuse can be difficult, even with friends and family. One way to approach the topic is to help them understand a little bit more about what you’re going through. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth tell all about your life, just some general facts about addiction. It can help them separate it from you as a person which is an important distinction. The fact that you’re in recovery means you’ve already acknowledged that you want to overcome and you’ll be surprised at how supportive your loved ones can be.

Even if you aren’t feeling up to talking about addiction, you can use what you know to make requests of hosts to accommodate your recovery. These requests can be to have non-alcoholic options available, to forgo alcohol altogether or to try to keep it to a specific area of the house or venue. You’re also the best person to know how much you can handle emotionally so if there are family members that cause undue stress, try to steer clear of them if you aren’t feeling up to it.

Treatment Is Always Available, Even During the Holidays

The holiday season is always difficult so remember that addiction treatment and mental health help are available to you or your loved ones as needed to help prevent relapse. Leveraging these resources can be the difference between being able to enjoy the holidays or not, and it doesn’t mean going through an entire program again.

For any questions about addiction or the treatment process, please reach out to our team of recovery specialists for a confidential consultation. America’s Rehab Campus is here to serve Arizona through this holiday season and beyond.