While the holidays can be a time of joy for some, for others, holidays are often filled with stress and anxiety. Especially if you know someone who’s recovering from an addiction, the days and weeks around the winter holidays can be some of the hardest ones they’ll face all year.
To help ease this burden, it can be helpful to know what you can do to be a person of support for your friend or loved one at this time. So to assist you in being there in a positive way, here are three tips for supporting a recovering addict over the holidays.
Don’t Make Them Feel Obligated
With all the parties and gatherings that take place over the holidays, recovering addicts are often placed in situations that aren’t good for their continued sobriety. But with the pressures of needing to show up for the people they love and who love them, many addicts succumb to the obligation and wind up in situations that they should have avoided.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to your loved one, Kathleen Doheny, a contributor to EverydayHealth.com, advises that you not make a recovering addict feel obligated to come to any event that they wouldn’t be comfortable at. Even if this means missing something that you’d like to share with them, their health and safety should be everyone’s priority.
Be Their Sober Friend
For events that you and your friend in recovery do attend together, what can be helpful for them is if you volunteer to be their sober friend by staying sober yourself while at the party or event.
According to SmartRecovery.org, having someone else at the party who’s committed to being sober can be a big support. Not only will your friend not feel alone, but you’ll be able to have a good time together knowing that each of your health and safety is being maintained.
Help Them Stay Active
Many people, including recovering addicts, tend to feel depressed over the holidays. This can cause people to relapse back into old habits.
To combat this, Lauren Villa, a contributor to DrugAbuse.com, suggests that you find ways to help your friend in recovery to stay active over the holiday season. By distracting each other and yourself with physical activity, your friend will feel less of a pull to go back to their old strategies of coping. Additionally, exercise and physical activity can release hormones that help people feel happier and more content with their lives, which is exactly what many people need at this time of year.
If you know someone who’s a recovering addict, consider how you can use the tips mentioned above to be a support for them during this holiday season.