Find out how to make the most out of holidays for the family of an addict. Ocean Hills Recovery treats the patient’s family as well as the patient.
Surviving the Holidays can be difficult for anyone, but for the family of an addict, there are added struggles to face. If there was a specific event that took place prior to receiving help, tensions may still be high in the family. Or if addiction runs in the family, and one person has begun their journey toward recovery while another has not, there may be resentment or bitter feelings.
Here are some ways for the family of an addict to be supportive and make sure you can enjoy the holidays as they should be enjoyed:
Don’t be afraid to address the elephant in the room (addiction, treatment, struggles in recovery, etc.). There is often a stigma of addiction and recovery. Offer a chance to have a heart-to-heart conversation with the addicted person. There is a chance that they are waiting for someone to make the first move to talk and once the lines of communication are open, you may find yourself reestablishing your relationship.
If you are at a party with a person in recovery and know that there may be added pressures to face, use the buddy system. Establish a secret gesture or code word/phrase that can be used if the recovering person feels too much pressure or fears relapse. Choose something so that if the family is present, they don’t have to worry about everyone knowing that they are feeling that way. Find a way to help get them out of the situation and find a way to a better deal than turning to drugs/alcohol. Remember to check in periodically – make eye contact to ensure that they are OK.
Prepare as a Family
Offer alternatives – make a fun nonalcoholic drink, if the person needs a drink in his/her hand in order to feel comfortable. Set up a hot cocoa bar with lots of toppings and whipped cream. Ask for help in the kitchen to keep their hands busy. Cooking together can be very therapeutic!
Rethink Gift Giving
A recovering person may not have funds to purchase gifts. Instead of giving gifts, do something as a family or group; volunteer together, celebrate the holidays by sharing a simple meal, or host a game, craft or movie night. Go caroling, help a confined neighbor, write letters to overseas military. Write a letter of gratitude to other family members instead of purchasing gifts. If that task seems overwhelming, use a secret Santa approach so each person only has one letter to write and everyone gets a letter. Changing things up is a great opportunity to create new rituals or traditions. Spending time together can be just as enjoyable as opening gifts and doing this takes the pressure off finding the perfect gift as well!
Don’t Wait To Help
There always seems like there is a better time for helping someone. Unfortunately, very often, choosing to wait until the “right time” to do something can lead to devastation. If a friend or family member is suffering from addiction and hasn’t chosen to begin their recovery, talk to them or set up an intervention. Waiting until January may seem like the best option, but how would you feel if something happened between now and then that altered the life of the addict, or even innocent bystanders? The time is now to help and support. Contact Ocean Hills Recovery today – 949-547-1064.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.