The holidays are a challenging and tempting time, especially for those recovering from addiction. Even if you’re not an addict yourself, you may want to know how to help a recovering addict avoid a holiday relapse during this time of year. This will make the holiday enjoyable for everyone.
Read on to learn some useful tips on helping a recovering addict during the holiday to avoid pitfalls and relapse.
Plan How to Help a Recovering Addict
Whether its an old friend or family visiting for the holidays, you’ll want to create a plan as early on as possible. The more you can strategize ahead of time, the fewer hiccups can come up during their holiday.
If you know the person well, it’s even easier to plan as you’re more likely to know their triggers or what caused them to use from the beginning and can help them avoid these same pitfalls.
Substitute in Fun Activities
Often the holidays are associated with eating and drinking, but this doesn’t have to be the case. By filling up your time with fun, family-friendly activities, you’ll be less likely to have the person you love confronted by difficult choices.
This could mean taking the kids to see Santa, doing some Holiday baking together, or even starting your own tradition. Getting kids involved will also help ensure the atmosphere stays appropriate.
Attend a Meeting with Them
Support goes so much farther than just clearing your home of the wine bottles. If your loved one is going to attend a meeting while on holiday, joining them to show how proud you are of the changes they are making in their life.
If you’re both traveling somewhere new, you can ease into the topic by looking up a local meeting yourself and suggesting you both go. They may be hesitant to bring it up on their own if they feel it will intrude on your vacation.
Speak Your Mind
When it comes to helping a recovered addict, the last thing you want to do is turn a blind eye. If you see something, it’s best to say something. This means if you notice them spending a good deal of time outside without being able to say where or why, if you notice any pain pills missing, or any other unusual occurrences call them on it.
It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it’s better than letting them walk down the path to a holiday relapse.
Avoid Bad Influences
If celebrating the holidays means traveling home where old friends or colleagues still live, it may be smart to recall which of these people may have played a part in your loved one’s addiction.
If a blast from the pasts is known to be bad influences, talk with your loved one ahead of time and suggest that they aren’t included in the holiday this year.
Find New Hang Out Spots
For many addicts, urges can arise simply from being in the places where they once drank or used. If you can remember where these hangouts used to be, it’s best to avoid them at all costs.
Your loved one may feel uncomfortable asking not to go to these places, especially if they know it’s some of your favorites, so try and take as much pressure off as possible.
Get Others on Board
If your loved one is visiting you for the holidays, it’s important to make sure that whoever needs to know about their battle with addiction knows. This is vital if you want to save them from any uncomfortable conversations or tempting offers.
This doesn’t mean spreading it all over town in a gossipy manner, simply cutting off difficult situations before they can start. Typically spouses, in-laws, and very close family friends should be informed.
Help Them Cope with Urges
When you think about it, the holidays are a time where urges surface no matter who you are. Often these urges can arise simply as a symptom of being alone. Ask your loved one ahead of time how they cope with urges and what you can do to help.
This can mean reminding them to repeat a certain phrase or mantra, distracting them, or simply keeping them company. The important thing is knowing what works best for them.
Be Smart About Where You Go
During the holidays there are countless parties and festivities to go to, and it’s important to remember that you don’t have to attend all of them. After all, we’re sure you’d agree that a loved one’s sobriety is more important than any party. So be wise about which events you go to and which you don’t.
Open bar? Might need to pass. Champagne toast? Step out of the room for that part. Know ahead of time what the event is about so smarter choices can be made.
Take the Right Steps
Just like recovery, learning how to support a former addict during the holidays requires focusing on one step at a time. Going crazy and doting over them may create feelings of embarrassment, resentment, or shame. All of those things can lead to a holiday relapse.
So be sure to stay in communication, understand what does and doesn’t work for your loved one, and know that, ultimately, their recovery is in their hands.
Getting Through a Holiday Relapse
In the event that the holidays do lead to a relapse, there are some important steps to take. First, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t tell yourself that there was more or less you could’ve done to prevent your loved one from relapsing. Next, be honest about the severity of the situation and what needs to be done next.
Whether it means holding an intervention or going back to rehab, the swifter the action can be made the better.
Recovery Starts Here in Savannah, Georgia
While we want to do all that we can to support a loved one, it can be difficult to know how to help a recovering addict. Sometimes an ongoing treatment plan is their best option.
If you feel a friend or loved ones needs more help and support than they are currently receiving, contact us today so we can help them get on the right path to lasting recovery.