Supporting a loved one in early recovery from a drug and/or alcohol addiction during the holidays can be difficult for you as a parent, significant other, sibling, child, friend, or other loved one. Dealing with your loved one’s addiction and/or alcoholism has no doubtingly already been a complex matter on its own, but the holidays bring their own distress and concern to the drawing board. You will need to keep a keen and watchful eye on them at times, lend a helping hand, and offer a supportive shoulder for your loved one to lean on during this crucial time of need and vulnerability.
Showing Support and Being Empathetic
It can be exasperating to understand what’s jogging nonstop through your loved one’s head over and over again. Let’s face it – you’ve probably raised your eyebrows on more than several occasions or been unable to prevent yourself from lashing out at your loved one in question of how they could commit such an awful act that they have. The most imperative piece of information for you to withhold in your mind for your own sanity is that they are suffering from a severe disease that is complex in its own right and unlike any other because it is cunning in the sense that it tells the sufferer and society that it isn’t a disease when that couldn’t be more far from the truth. It’s conniving, deceptive, and alluring with its tricks that taunt the sufferer in their mind, taking the over the individual’s capacity to think clearly for themselves and causing them to run rampantly while tearing their lives apart limb from limb. Holidays like Christmas, Hanukah,
The best way you can show support for them is by being present with them. This means holding genuine conversation with them. Ask them about what is going on in their life and continuing to hold the discussion. Don’t let them sit in another room in isolation and wallow in misery during the holiday. Try to brighten their mood by getting them in on the celebration by having them involved.
When your loved one is early in recovery and abstaining from all mind-altering substances, it can be difficult for them to be around substances. Try to be understanding of this by not offering, tempting, suggesting, provoking, or condoning any unhealthy behaviors that may endorse or engage their addictive behavior. Remember, your loved one is in recovery and needs to abstain from all substances, including alcohol – regardless as to whether or not they define themselves as addict and/or alcoholic because alcohol is a drug. No individual in recovery can afford to mess around with this because matters begin to get blown out of proportion all too quickly in the mind. Substitution of one substance from another does not solve an individual’s thinking problems. You should want to show support of your loved one’s recovery by promoting them to want to be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually present with you so that they can remember the holiday that you all enjoyed. Have them engage and be pleased in the time spent with you instead of becoming fearful of a substance sitting on the kitchen table. If you know there may be alcohol in the house because there may be non-alcoholics present, try to be fair to your recovering loved one by keeping it out of their sight.
You may be under the impression that you and the family must walk on eggshells with your loved one, having to be cautious of the words you say to them due to your loved one being particularly sensitive and uneasy this season without so much as a crutch of a substance to lean on as a utility for comfort. This is however false because they should have acquired useful tools as a far better healthier replacement. For instance, they should have built a network of supports to call, which they should if they struggle and are not equipped with enough emotional strength in the moment to combat the inner feelings they are battling. They can also utilize other coping mechanisms like journaling, going for a walk, meditating, reading, and more. You don’t have to give your loved one special treatment, but do be respectful and courteous of their feelings, just as you would hopefully be as normally.
If you notice your loved one struggling significantly to the point where they grab a drink and/or drug which leads them back into the spiral of addiction, don’t hesitate picking up the phone and contacting The Watershed immediately. A relapse that has led the addict and/or alcoholic back into the cycle of addiction is not a matter that can wait until after the holidays. You are doing more harm by postponing their treatment, so call for help today.