The holiday season can be a particularly difficult time for those in recovery and for their families. During this time of year everyone has high expectations, busier schedules and there are increased social gatherings and travel. People in recovery are often distracted during this time of year and attend fewer Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and parents may be attending less Al-Anon meetings.
Recovery From Addiction Needs To Be Year Round
This is a dangerous time of year for those in recovery and relapse is common. While parents are not responsible for their child’s addiction, there are ways to help you learn how to support your child’s recovery from addiction during the holidays.
Establish Your Own Recovery Plan
Parents are often concerned about their child’s recovery, especially during the holiday season. While it is important to be mindful and supportive of your child’s recovery, it is important to keep the focus on yourself. A busy schedule is common during the holiday season. Planning social gatherings, purchasing gifts and traveling are all factors that can distract someone from taking care of their emotional and physical well-being. It is important that parents take care of themselves and establish a strong support system in order to refrain from co-dependent and enabling behaviors. Alcoholics Anonymous is a crucial component in an addict’s recovery, Al-Anon is just as important for the family. Attending Al-Anon meetings, or checking in with fellow members, during this time is highly recommended and can help parent’s navigate through the holiday season.
Have Open and Honest Communication with Your Child
The best way to ensure a happy and safe holiday season is by having open and honest communication with your child in recovery. Discussing expectations, rules and issues prior to the holiday festivities will help to limit any problems. The most common issue for families of the recovering child is the fear of relapse. While this is a normal fear, it is important that the family refrain from hovering over their child. This can cause unnecessary stress and tension for everyone involved. It is suggested that a designated parent speaks to the child in recovery and asks how they can make the holiday season more comfortable for them and their recovery. It is important to address the issues that recovering child is concerned with; any possible triggers and discuss the possible presence of alcohol. Having open and honest communication also lets your child know that you support them and are available to them if issues arise.
Be Mindful About the Role of Alcohol During the Holidays
Alcohol may be present at some of the family gatherings during the holiday season. It is up to each individual family to determine whether or not alcohol will be served. If alcohol is served at a family gathering it is important to be mindful of your child in recovery. If you have a child in recovery, this doesn’t mean you have to refrain from serving alcohol but it may be a good idea to not make alcohol a main focus during the event. If your child is new in recovery, it is probably best to forego serving alcohol altogether if possible.
The holiday season is full of expectations. Families work endlessly to create meaningful holiday gatherings, from cooking to purchasing gifts and decorating homes. It is important for parents to manage their expectations surrounding their child in recovery. Recovery from addiction is a long process and the expectation that their child is cured of personal conflict should not be held. Although the holiday season is one often associated with happiness and joy, it can be extremely stressful for someone in early recovery.
Encourage Your Child to Reach Out to Others in Recovery
A social support system is vital in recovery from addiction. Encourage your child to reach out to their sponsor or others in recovery during the holiday season. If your child wants to bring a friend in recovery to family gatherings, encourage them to do so. A fellow member in recovery can serve as a lifeline if an issue arises. During the holidays, people in recovery often become distracted and don’t attend as many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Always allow and encourage your child to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Meetings are an invaluable aspect of recovery.
Concerned About Yourself or a Loved One?
The holiday season is an especially difficult time for those in recovery and their families. By managing expectations and being prepared, you give yourself the best chance at a safe and happy holiday season. Unfortunately, relapse is common during the holiday season. If your child does relapse, seek help immediately. If you or someone you know needs help from addiction or you would like more information about recovery, there are lots of options available. New Life House can be reached at (888) 357-7577. If you have a child in recovery, what are some of the ways you support them during the holidays?