Addiction, Families, and the Holidays. Some Thoughts.

family in the kitchen during the holidays

Living with a family member struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is one of the most significant challenges a family can face.

Add in the holiday season, and those difficulties only multiply.

For someone addicted or in recovery, the holidays are often a time of anxiety, stress, loneliness, and depression. Families of those actively using or in recovery often feel much the same way.

So, how should families navigate these challenging moments?

Communication: The Cornerstone of Coping

It’s essential that families of those struggling with an addiction talk to one another. An excellent place to start is with a conversation about expectations.

Don’t expect the holidays to magically produce a loved one cured of their addiction. That’s a prescription for disappointment and trouble.

And don’t think that because someone is in recovery, they will arrive home full of good cheer and positivity. It’s often the case that the holidays produce a rough patch for that individual. Holidays often do – particularly in the beginning of recovery.

That brings us back to the need to communicate and plan.

Setting Boundaries for Emotional Well-being

Families should consider setting clear ground rules and boundaries to protect other family members’ emotional and physical well-being – particularly children. Those who are battling an addiction need to understand these rules and the consequences for violating them.

It’s also essential for families to realize that holidays together may just be too uncomfortable for the person battling an addiction. In those cases, giving your loved one permission to skip a holiday with plans to meet another time may be sensible.

Are you worried a family member in recovery might relapse during the holidays?

Again, communication between family members can be helpful here. Talk to the person in recovery and ask them about the challenges they anticipate and what can be done to make them comfortable during holiday events.

One of the top questions for families of recovering alcoholics is whether to have alcohol in the home or served during parties. That question has to be answered on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the person in recovery.

Self-Care for Families: Finding Strength Together

It also helps before holiday events if family members do the work to take care of themselves. Proper rest, exercise, healthy meals, and taking time to recharge can help everyone involved find the energy and the love needed to get through challenging moments.

Understanding Limits: Balancing Support and Independence

Finally – remember – a person with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol needs to want recovery for recovery to happen. There are limits to what loved ones can do to help, and that’s OK.

Aware Recovery Care: Transformative In-Home Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol and need help in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. And we come to you, regardless of where you live. Our unique in-home treatment model of care gives clients a significantly better chance of recovery than traditional inpatient rehab care. Please get in touch with one of our Recovery Specialists to learn more.