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How to Support Someone in Recovery Over the Holidays

men having a sober christmas and talking

When patients leave our Mississippi drug rehab, they often lean on their loved ones in early recovery to make it through difficult times. Family and friends can provide a tremendous amount of support and love that can transform into long-term success in sobriety, but supporting someone in recovery is sometimes easier said than done.

Supporting an Addict in Recovery During the Holidays

While early recovery can be hard enough, the holidays can present a new challenge. Although joyful in many ways, the holiday season can also be a time of high amounts of stress, anxiety, and pressure. All these factors can lead to relapse if your loved one isn’t careful, but you can help them as well. At Vertava Health, we are sharing some tips on how to support someone in recovery over the holidays so that they can stay on track and you can both enjoy the season.

Extend A Helping Hand

With busy schedules, the holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, and stress is a big cause for relapse. If your loved one is in recovery, they may be struggling to cope with holiday stress without turning to drugs or alcohol. Instead of waiting for them to ask for help, extend your support. Offer to help them with any holiday commitments like baking cookies for their cookie exchange. Ask them what you can do to lighten their load like picking up their kids so they can finish up something for work. The more you can do to make their schedule a little less hectic, the less tempted your loved one will feel to use or drink again.

Be Available

The best way to support someone in recovery over the holidays is to be there for them. If possible, attend events or gatherings with them that could be triggering. If not, check in with them after or during. Schedule times to chat regularly whether it is in person, on the phone, or virtually. When your loved one in recovery knows that you are available to them even during the holidays, it will help them open up sooner if they are struggling.

Hold them Accountable

Helping a recovering addict during the holidays means continuing to hold them accountable regardless of the time of year. While you want to be supportive of your loved one, there is a difference between being supportive and enabling bad habits that could lead back to addiction. Check to ensure that they are still going to their outpatient treatment or recovery meetings. Take them to appointments or therapy sessions. See if they are still following a healthy routine like regular exercise and a good diet. If you notice that they start to slip up, keep them accountable instead of letting the holiday season be their excuse.

Don’t Add Financial Stress

The holidays can be expensive and especially with the impact of the coronavirus crisis, finances are tight for a lot of people right now. With your loved one likely still trying to get back on their feet, they may not have a lot of money to spare.  Instead of potentially causing your loved one more financial stress which can be triggering, do your best to not ask them for any added financial commitments. If you typically exchange gifts, ask to stop this year or organize a white elephant gift exchange instead. With one less thing to worry about, your loved one can focus on their recovery. While everyone is different, following these tips on how to support someone in recovery over the holidays could make all the difference for your loved one. If your loved one needs help or relapses, there is still hope. At Vertava Health Mississippi, we offer substance use and co-occurring disorder treatment near Memphis for people wanting to find lasting recovery from addiction.