For people in recovery, the holiday season can be especially challenging since it can be full of stressors and triggers that raise the possibility of relapse.
It can be difficult to know how to best support a loved one who is battling addiction. There are, however, things you can do to support your loved one and aid them in getting through this difficult time. Here’s how to support an addict in recovery this holiday season.
Why the Holidays Are Hard for Recovering Addicts
The holidays can be a time of happiness and celebration for many people, but for recovering addicts, this season can be particularly difficult. The holidays can be overwhelming and challenging for recovering addicts due to all the triggers that arise.
The holidays can bring heightened levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and stress. Recovering addicts may also have to deal with difficult family dynamics, and hurtful memories.
How Addiction Affects The Whole Family
Addiction affects not just the individual who is addicted, but also their loved ones. Addiction can cause marital discord, financial problems, and various other issues in relationships. The good news is that there are things you can do to help your family cope with addiction in a healthy way.
Relationship Issues: Because the recovering addict may have put their addiction before their obligations and relationships in the past, this can lead to a rift within the family. Other family members may get upset, resentful, and angry as a result of this.
There may also be a loss of trust between the recovering addict and their loved ones, which will take time to repair.
Emotional Turmoil: It can be emotionally taxing and induce feelings of stress, despair, sadness, and helplessness to witness a loved one suffer with addiction. Family members may also feel regret, humiliation, and concern for the welfare of a loved one.
Financial Stress: Addiction can be a financial burden on families, since family members will often do anything they can in order to keep their addicted loved one off the streets.
They may have spent a lot of money putting their loved one through treatment, or giving them money which they spent towards their addiction. This can lead to financial instability for the whole family.
How You Can Help a Recovering Addict
This holiday season, make sure to think of your loved one who is a recovering addict. Although they may not ask for it directly, they need your support during this time.
Here are some ways that you can support an addict in recovery over the holidays.
1. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries with recovering addicts, especially family members, can be difficult, but it is necessary for your and their safety. You don’t want them to revert to their old habits or try to exert control over you in any way.
Let them know what is allowed and what isn’t. Communicate clearly and concisely so that they understand exactly what you expect from them. Inform them right away if something isn’t going as planned and give them no opportunity to sneak around or back out.
2. Avoid Enabling
Avoid enabling an addict because this only serves to delay their recovery. In some cases, enabling an addict has actually caused them to relapse into a full-blown addiction.
Enabling someone means taking away their chances for self-improvement and personal growth. Recovery requires hard work and patience, two things that often don’t come easily if we’re constantly rushing them along.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
If you’re expecting too much from your loved ones during their early stages of recovery, you will likely be disappointed. Recovery does not fix things overnight; it takes time and patience to face all of the challenges.
Set realistic expectations for how long it will take them to feel comfortable and sober, and keep in mind that relapse is always a possibility. Don’t let this discourage you, simply understand that it will take time and commitment on your part to assist the recovering addict in healing.
4. Help Them Avoid Triggers
If you are trying to help your loved one recover from addiction, it is important to understand their triggers. Some of the things that can cause an addict to relapse may be difficult for them to understand or deal with.
As a result, it is critical to collaborate and develop a recovery plan that meets the needs of each individual. This plan should include strategies for avoiding temptation and dealing with relapse episodes. It must also address any personal connections or emotions that may cause a relapse in a recovering addict.
5. Encourage Them to Seek Professional Support
Overall, it’s important to acknowledge that you cannot be the sole support for your recovering loved one. Encouraging your loved one to seek professional help is a critical step in the recovery process.
A professional can provide guidance, assistance, and support as they undergo treatment. They can also help keep you updated on progress, offer practical advice, and be a sounding board for questions and concerns.
How to Cope With a Loved One’s Addiction
It can be difficult to cope with a loved one’s addiction, especially if you’re not familiar with the terminologies, recovery stages, and process. Whether your loved one is currently in recovery or not, here are some tips to help you cope with the situation.
1. Learn About Addiction
Understanding addiction isn’t just beneficial for the person who needs help, it can also be helpful for those who are trying to support them. If your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, knowing about addiction can give you a better understanding of what they’re going through and how best to support them.
2. Find a Supportive Network
Many people find comfort and relief in talking to others who understand what they’re going through, and who are willing to listen. Speaking candidly about your experiences in coping with an addict loved one can help you feel better. Additionally, a supportive network can provide valuable resources and knowledge, as well as emotional support during difficult times.
3. Take Care of Yourself
When you’re coping with an addict in your life, it’s important to take care of yourself. The best way to take care of yourself during this difficult time is by honoring your own needs. This means focusing on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being and taking time for yourself every day, even if that means going out alone or spending time on your own hobbies.
4. Attend Therapy
Attending therapy when you’re coping with an addicted family member can be a very helpful way to process and deal with your emotions. Many people find that talking to a professional about their experiences helps them to better understand and manage those feelings. Therapy can also help you learn new strategies for dealing with your loved ones addiction.
Get Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
If your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it’s important for them to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment can help them overcome addiction and live a healthy, drug-free life.
There are numerous treatment options available, including inpatient care, outpatient care, and others. Speak with our addiction specialists at The PAC Program if you’re unsure of where to begin when looking for treatment options, and we will help you get on the right path.