The holidays are supposed to be a happy, joyful time of year. If you have a loved one who is actively drinking or in recovery, however, this time of year can be one of the most dreaded. The reason is simple: it’s not unusual for almost every holiday event to involve alcohol consumption.
For your loved one who is trying to avoid alcohol or its many triggers, simply being at a family gathering or party where others are drinking can be excruciating both mentally and physically. Or maybe your loved one’s addiction first began at similar holiday gatherings in the past, and because of that they dread the annual reminder. Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to make this time of year easier for your loved one to get through.
Accompany your loved one to holiday events so they don’t have to go alone.
Being the sober plus-one can help your loved one avoid temptation that, if alone, may overcome them. Be the support person for your loved one by providing distractions from the temptation to drink, such as engaging conversation, interactive games, meeting new people or trying new foods.
Urge your loved one to arrive early and leave before people become drunk.
Never give your alcoholic loved one a hard time for deciding to leave your party early, especially if there are people drinking. He or she will know when they’ve reached their limit, and they should be able to get away from the temptation to drink without feeling guilty for doing so. In fact, if you want to support your loved one during the holidays, urge them to get to your gathering early so you can still enjoy quality time with them if they decide to leave early.
Keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum at your party, or skip it altogether.
There’s no rule that says a holiday party must serve alcohol. If you can, avoid serving alcohol altogether and opt for nonalcoholic drinks like punch, soft drinks, apple cider, coffee or other options. Let your loved one know ahead of time that you will not have alcohol at your party. This will give them peace of mind that they won’t have to face a night of temptation and triggers.
Find a recovery group with an upcoming meeting for your loved one.
It’s not uncommon for alcoholism recovery groups to host meetings during the holidays. If your loved one isn’t already a part of a recovery group, talk to them about potentially joining a meeting around this time of year when they need it most. These meetings can give your loved one support from others who have been in their shoes and have a firsthand understanding of their dilemmas.
Be supportive and understanding.
The best way you can make the holidays easier for your alcoholic loved one is to be an open, understanding friend to them. Listen when they need to talk. Offer advice when they need advice. Never judge. If you don’t know what to say, the best thing you can say is simply: “I understand and I’m here if you need me.”
If your alcoholic loved one is dreading the holidays, you can help ease their worries. Take the time to make the holidays as stress-free and enjoyable as possible with your loved one in mind. And if you need help getting your loved one to accept and discover addiction recover, download Talbott Recovery’s FREE guide here.