The holiday season is here, and with it, a wide range of opportunities for alcoholics to relapse. If you’re hoping for a happy family holiday season that will help to avoid the odds of relapse, these tactics will make it easier for everyone to stay sober, happy, and healthy this holiday season.
Opt for Non Alcoholic Party Drinks
If you know that you have a loved one who has struggled with alcoholism in the past, it’s important that you make non alcoholic party drinks available during your family celebrations. Some ideas:
These non alcoholic Christmas drinks will go a long way toward satisfying the need for a special drink for the occasion without risking your loved one’s sobriety–which in turn means a more enjoyable holiday season for all.
If you have a loved one who is recently sober or who has struggled with sobriety at this time of year in the past, it’s particularly important that you take the time to check in regularly. Be a presence in their lives that they can count on. Even better, make sure you invite them to join in during important moments during the holidays so that they don’t feel alone. A happy family holiday means including everyone–especially if a struggling loved one has been alienated from family during the holidays.
Your loved one wants to be sober. During the holidays, however, it can be difficult to keep those reminders at the forefront–especially if, for whatever reason, they aren’t able to spend the holidays with family members. Help provide a reminder of why they’re staying sober when they need it most. Be on hand for an emergency call if necessary and provide support that will help get them through tough moments.
Create a New Tradition Together
One of the hardest parts of staying sober is falling into old patterns. At Grandma’s, everyone has a beer while they hang out in front of the fire at the end of the night. Perhaps Aunt Agatha’s Christmas party always includes a glass of wine for everyone. Whatever the tradition might have been before, it’s time to create new ones! Some things to consider:
- Do a craft project together that can be commemorated for future years. An ornament, a table cloth that’s added to every year, or another holiday display can make for great memories in the future!
- Watch a movie together. Be sure to include snacks and non-alcoholic drinks!
- Take goofy family pictures. Consider trying to recreate pictures from former years.
- Go on a gifting spree to give to others: deliver secret presents or choose a project to take on together.
- Get active together! Go for a run, take a walk and look at Christmas lights, or do something else that gets you out of the house and moving.
- Play a game together, especially one that will engage the whole family.
Know Potential Triggers
Everyone’s triggers are different, but there are some things that are likely to be specific triggers for a recovering alcoholic. By knowing what they are, you can help your loved one avoid them–and be on hand to help create an exit plan if others are less sensitive. These might include:
- Being around specific relatives.
- Familiar situations that always led to drinking in the past.
- Treats that are alcohol-flavored or that contain alcohol.
- Stressful situations.
During the holidays, it’s particularly important for recovering alcoholics to spend time with friends and family members who support the in their recovery and are willing to take steps to help them overcome the addiction and move forward with their new life. To have an amazing family holiday, make sure you’re one of the supportive ones who is willing to stand beside your loved one.