Three Holiday Essentials for Partners and Families of Recovering Addicts



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Holidays and the pandemic can be a recipe for disaster for recovering addicts, but here are some holiday essentials you have to be mindful of.

The holiday cheer is at its peak, and yet with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, we are still faced with uncertainties. Traditions and practices may have to take the back-burner as lockdown and social distancing measures are put in place.

And the holiday season could be complicating matters even more, as it invites many emotions and memories, especially from past trauma as you remember your loved one’s active addiction.

As you grapple with the new normal of the pandemic and the new normal of addiction recovery, it’s important to create a space of safety, comfort, and connection as true holiday essentials.

We are also sharing these three tips to help make this holiday season positive and more meaningful for you and your loved ones.

Three Holiday Essentials for Managing the Holidays with a Recovering Family Member

  1. Acknowledge past trauma and triggers. You can talk about your feelings without blame, defensiveness, or resentment. Acknowledge, without judgment, that you are vulnerable and you are feeling what you are feeling. This is important so that you can work through these things together as well as increase your emotional connection. Turn these feelings into bridges that will bring you closer together

    For example (on addiction): “Last Christmas was very difficult because of the arguing and the impact of the addiction during our celebration. This makes me feel anxious about this year, and although I understand we are now on a recovery journey, I hope and want for us to have new and more meaningful ways to celebrate.”

    Another example (on COVID-19): “It makes me sad that we’re missing our families, but I would like us to have video calls with them or send them gifts this Christmas.”

    It’s these simple acknowledgements and expressions of feelings can go a long way in bringing you together as you weather this challenging but worthwhile time.
  2. Develop a plan. Find out what really means most for you, your family, or your relationship this holiday. Then, decide on what plan you’d like to develop. Find something that supports what is healthy for you, your partner or family member, and for both of you as a couple or as a family. Talk about what you want to happen and take the necessary steps to accomplish it without compromising your commitment to sobriety and recovery.
  3. Make sure it’s healthy and good for you. Sort out and define healthy boundaries. As a couple or as a family member, you should work together to enforce and observe them. Think about these three things:
  • Is this decision potentially helpful to my recovery, wellness, and mental health?
  • Is this decision potentially harmful to my recovery, wellness, and mental health?
  • Is this decision neutral to my recovery, wellness, and mental health?

Practicing these three essentials this holiday season and even beyond creates openness, fosters trust, and encourages cooperation that will help you stay on the path or recovery.

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