Home for the Holidays: How to Help Family Members in Recovery During the Holiday Season
The holiday season can be a time of great cheer for many, but for others, it’s also a rather tough time of year. For those going through recovery, for example, there are a host of challenges throughout this time, from family expectations to substance-related temptations and even memories that might stir up inner turmoil. However, if you have a friend or family member who has been through a recovery program and is coming home for the holidays, there are certainly steps you can take to help them.
First and foremost, make sure that you take the time to speak to the person who is coming home. This might feel like an obvious thing to do, but there are many who get so caught up with the idea of ‘helping’ that they don’t actually take the time to consult the person who needs help. So instead, check in with the person who is coming home and ask what you can do to make their life a bit easier. There may be certain things that they have learned in recovery that could be helpful here, and in some cases, they will communicate those techniques or ideas to you.
Beyond that, it’s vital that you take some time to really think about what kind of situations that you’re putting your friend or family member into. Try to avoid putting the individual into situations that might lead to extreme stress, as such stressors can be part of the recipe that leads to relapse. Suppose your friend or family member was in recovery for issues with alcohol, for example. In that case, you might want to make sure that you’re not planning on having a gathering in a bar or that alcohol isn’t the main feature of the evening.
In most cases, though, the best thing you can do for a family member is to give them room to advocate for themselves. Don’t push them to do anything they don’t want to do, and make sure that you’re providing a safe space for them when necessary. Remember, you’re only there to help – otherwise, your friend or family member is taking charge of their own recovery.