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How to Support Someone in Recovery over the Holidays

a family holds hands at a dinner table with food on the table while experiencing the holidays while in recovery

When patients leave Woodland Recovery Center’s addiction treatment programs, they often lean on their loved ones in early recovery to make it through difficult times. Family and friends can provide a tremendous amount of support and love that can transform into long-term success in sobriety, but supporting someone in recovery is sometimes easier said than done.

During the holidays, supporting a loved one in recovery can be especially challenging. In addition to the typical holiday stressors, there may also be triggers and temptations related to addiction. Family and friends must understand this and provide extra support during this time. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling 662.222.2989 to learn more about holidays in recovery and how to support your loved one best.

Exploring the Link Between Relapse from Addiction and the Holiday Season

The holiday season, while a time of celebration and joy for many, can often be a difficult period for those in recovery from addiction. Several factors contribute to this heightened risk of relapse:

  • Increased stress – The holidays often come with a flurry of activities, obligations, and expectations that can lead to heightened stress levels, a common trigger for relapse.
  • Emotional challenges – For some, the holidays can stir up feelings of loneliness, sadness, or grief, which can increase the temptation to use substances as a coping mechanism.
  • Social pressure – Holiday gatherings often involve alcohol, which can put pressure on those in recovery. Additionally, the atmosphere of celebration may inadvertently encourage excessive behavior.
  • Disruption of routine – Regular schedules often get disrupted during the holiday season due to travel or activities, disrupting the structure and routine that is often crucial in maintaining sobriety.

Understanding this link between the holiday season and the increased risk of relapse can help both individuals in recovery and their loved ones take proactive steps to manage these triggers and maintain sobriety.

How to Support a Loved One with Addiction During the Holidays

While early recovery can be hard enough, the holidays in recovery can present a new challenge. Although joyful in many ways, the holiday season can also be a time of high amounts of stress, anxiety, and pressure. All these factors can lead to relapse if your loved one isn’t careful, but you can help them as well. At Woodland Recovery Center, we are sharing some tips on how to support someone in recovery over the holidays so that they can stay on track and you can enjoy the season.

Extend a Helping Hand

With busy schedules, the holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, and stress is a significant cause of relapse. If your loved one is in recovery, they may be struggling to cope with holiday stress without turning to drugs or alcohol. Instead of waiting for them to ask for help, extend your support. Offer to help them with any holiday commitments, like baking cookies for their cookie exchange. Ask them what you can do to lighten their load, like picking up their kids so they can finish up something for work. The more you can do to make their schedule less hectic, the less tempted your loved one will feel to use or drink again.

Be Available

The best way to support someone in recovery over the holidays is to be there for them. If possible, attend events or gatherings with them that could be triggering. If not, check in with them after or during. Schedule times to chat regularly, whether it is in person, on the phone, or virtually. When your loved one in recovery knows you are available to them even during the holidays, it will help them open up sooner if they are struggling.

Hold Them Accountable

Helping a person in recovery during the holidays means continuing to hold them accountable regardless of the time of year. While you want to be supportive of your loved one, there is a difference between being supportive and enabling bad habits that could lead back to addiction.

Check to ensure that they are still going to their outpatient treatment or recovery meetings. Take them to appointments or therapy sessions. See if they are still following a healthy routine like regular exercise and a good diet. If you notice that they start to slip up, keep them accountable instead of letting the holiday season be their excuse.

Don’t Add Financial Stress

The holidays can be expensive, and finances are tight for a lot of people right now. As your loved one is likely still recovering, they may not have much financial flexibility at the moment. Instead of potentially causing your loved one more financial stress, which can be triggering, do your best not to ask them for any added financial commitments.

If you typically exchange gifts, ask to stop this year or organize a white elephant gift exchange instead. With one less thing to worry about, your loved one can focus on their recovery. While everyone is different, following these tips on supporting a loved one during the holidays in recovery could make all the difference for them.

Call Woodland Recovery Center for Recovery Help and Support This Holiday Season

If your loved one needs help or relapses, there is still hope. At Woodland Recovery Center, we offer substance use and co-occurring disorder treatment for people wanting to find lasting recovery from addiction. Our team understands the unique challenges the holiday season can bring for those in recovery and offers tailored support to help individuals stay on track. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more information and support during this time by calling 662.222.2989, or you or a loved one can contact us online. We are here for you and your loved one every step of the way.