Having a loved one who is a substance addict can be challenging no matter the time of year. During the holidays, it can be even more of a challenge. Whether it is a Christmas party, family gathering, or New Year’s Eve celebration, this time of year can offer several opportunities for your loved one to relapse.

First, it’s important to remember that their sobriety should be a top priority, no matter the event. Below are some tips on not only helping your loved one but making sure you’re taking care of yourself too. We hope this finds you peaceful and excited about a joyful holiday season.

How to Help Your Loved One through the Holidays

We realize that everyone celebrates this season differently. However, some major holidays that we consistently see substance addicts struggle with include Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Holiday parties and other gatherings scattered between the three can be cause for concern too.

The biggest reason that these can be hard is the overwhelming presence of alcohol at these functions, and even drugs. Below are some tips on helping your loved one navigate this.

  • Before taking them to an event or pressuring them to come to a family party, consider the environment. Is alcohol present and served freely? Are there negative influences in attendance? Is it a bar or club that might be triggering? If any of those are true, it might be in the best interest of your loved one to skip it altogether.
  • If you’re hosting a party and want your loved one in attendance, consider not serving alcohol at all. While this may come as a disappointment to some, remember the ultimate goal is to support them. Instead, come up with other drink options or treats that everyone can enjoy.
  • When it comes to family, traditions can be hard to break. However, if it’s a tradition that is either triggering or involves the substance they no longer use, it may be time to start something new. Use this as an opportunity to grow as a family, and avoid making your loved one feel blamed or embarrassed.

It’s also important to be hyper-aware of your loved ones’ mental and physical health during this time. There are some early signs of relapse. These can include:

  • Isolating themselves from friends or family
  • Lack of normal level of excitement for this time
  • Avoidance of parties or social gatherings (depending on the situation)
  • Increased anxiety due to the holidays
  • Lack of desire to participate in anything holiday-related that they normally would
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Neglecting responsibilities

If any of the above happens, don’t ignore it. Encourage your loved one by letting them know you’re available. If you have the right relationship, you may even encourage them to speak with their sponsor, attend extra AA meetings, and support groups, or sign up for some aftercare through the treatment program they’ve used.

Another option is to have a conversation about the holidays before they arrive. Ask your loved one about their triggers, so you can help them avoid this or navigate them if one arises. If they seem embarrassed to share, know that common triggers during the holidays include the stress of needing to purchase gifts, having to watch others drink, family stress, the change in routine, and even a change in emotion.

Ways to Honor Yourself during the Holidays

While you’re thinking about your loved one during this time, don’t forget about your mental health. Loving an addict can sometimes lead to negative symptoms of your own, such as putting their needs before your own, losing touch with friends, and more.

If you feel like you’ve lost yourself in this journey, don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself. This may help you and your loved one more than you realize.

Examples of this include:

  • Join a support group. Al-Anon is a group made up of people who love someone with a substance addiction. Talking about it with like-minded people could be immensely helpful.
  • Take a vacation just for yourself. Unplug and try not to worry about your loved one.
  • If boundaries are an issue with the loved one in question, consider setting some. These will help you and them in the long run.
  • Don’t be afraid to continue making sure your own needs are met, while still loving this friend or family member.

Holidays at Emerge Healing Center

Here at Emerge Healing Center, we want to extend a happy holiday season to everyone. We also want to remind you that no matter your situation, or time of year, we are available to talk and help where we can.

We treat alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dual diagnosis, trauma, and PTSD. While treatment may be the last thing you or a loved one wants for the holidays, it may be the best gift you could imagine.

Getting Treatment

If you or a loved one are currently dealing with an addiction and would like to know more about treatment options in Atlanta that include 12 Step programming, contact us today. At Emerge Healing Center, our team can help you to decide which program is right for you, as well as design a treatment program that will maximize your chances of success. Gain control of your life with the help of the right treatment center, and find out just how fulfilling an addiction-free life can be. Happy holidays from all of us at Emerge Healing Center.