The holiday season is supposed to be a joyful time, a time when family and friends get together to celebrate the holidays. While for many it is a happy time of year, for others it has many challenges.
The Holiday Season: One of the Biggest Triggers for Addicts
Holidays often highlight feelings of loneliness, depression and losses. For those in recovery, the holiday season may be more difficult. During the holiday season, alcohol is generally a large part of many social gatherings. This brings up a commonly asked question; can I serve alcohol around someone in recovery during the holiday season?
When to Serve Alcohol and When Not to Serve Alcohol
When a family member is in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, many struggle with making sure that individual feels safe and comfortable. While it is important to be mindful about that individual’s recovery, it is important to understand that each individual in recovery has their own specific needs and feelings. When trying to decide if alcohol will be served at a social gathering during the holidays, it is best to have an open and honest conversation with the individual in recovery.
Ask him or her how they feel about alcohol being present. There are several factors that may determine their response; how long they have been in recovery, their emotional state at that specific time, how strong their sobriety is at that time and the relationships they have with individuals who will be present during the gathering. Some people in recovery may not feel comfortable attending a social gathering where alcohol is present. Once individuals have accumulated a significant amount of time in recovery however, they often feel strongly that they don’t want, or feel it is necessary, for people to change their behavior due to their sobriety. It is best to just ask him or her how they feel about the issue. If you are concerned about someone in early recovery or know that they have been struggling with sobriety, it is best to just refrain from serving alcohol to eliminate the issue entirely.
Avoid Food and Desserts with Alcohol
Regardless of whether or not the individual in recovery has a lot of time and is comfortable with alcohol being present, it is suggested that you refrain from serving food and desserts that contain alcohol. While drinking an alcoholic beverage can be avoided, eating food that contains alcohol can have negative consequences for the individual. For an individual in recovery, the taste of alcohol can cause a psychological reaction that may trigger them and lead to a relapse. Using alcohol when cooking is commonly done and most of the alcohol burns off, but many desserts contain alcohol that is not eliminated.
Provide Understanding and Support
It is important for families to have an understanding of addiction. Learning about the disease allows for a greater sense of compassion and understanding. If you choose to serve alcohol around someone with time in recovery, be mindful about how much is served and how the individual in recovery is feeling. Provide emotional support and compassion, without tiptoeing around them. Most people in recovery want to be treated like everyone else. If the person in recovery wants to invite someone else in recovery, it is suggested to let him or her do so. Fellow addicts have a deep understanding of one another and may be a comfort during a social gathering where alcohol is present.
Concerned About Yourself or a Loved One?
The holidays can be a difficult time for those in recovery. Understanding addiction and having open and honest communication with those in recovery provide the best opportunity for a safe and happy holiday season. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one with substance abuse issues, it is imperative that you seek help immediately. If you want to learn more about how to support a loved one in recovery, please do not hesitate to call us at (888)357-7577 or simply click on the banner below to visit our contact page. We are waiting to hear from you!