The holiday season is in full swing, and many are getting ready to celebrate with their friends and family. But for those family members in recovery, these celebrations come with additional challenges.
Addiction experts said that the rate of relapsing during the holidays is higher. Some of the challenges those in recovery face are being with family members who are not in recovery and may not understand sobriety. Plus, the stress of buying presents, traveling, providing meals for people, and everything that comes with the holidays can add additional pressure.
“If I am uncomfortable in a situation regardless of what my friends and family think, I will remove myself from that situation because if I go down that path, I won’t have them anyways,” said Nathan Issacks, who celebrated his 16-months in recovery in November.
It’s essential to protect your sobriety, and Isaacks said, that your recovery should come first even if family members don’t understand.
“For me, I’m an addict, and I’m an alcoholic, and I will go crazy trying to explain it to my family who does’ t understand I can’t just have a drink. I need to know that I don’t need to explain that to them, I just need to know my truth,” said Isaacks.
Here are some tips to stay sober this holiday:
IF YOU DON’T HAVE FAMILY OR CAN’T BE AROUND TEMPTATIONS
- It’s ok if you are not able to be around substances yet, and you have to stay away from holiday functions. Reach out to the 12-Step Communities and local AA Groups to see what events they have planned for the holidays.
Click Here: Find a Local AA Group
IF YOU HAVE TO ATTEND A HOLIDAY EVENT
- Have a list of phone numbers to call before you leave the house.
- Attend an AA meeting throughout the week or before the event.
- When it’s time leave, just politely let your host know that you have “another event to get to.”
“My recovery is my responsibility it’s not anyone else’s responsibility, So if I go somewhere I take my own vehicle, I make sure that it’s not blocked-in anywhere, so I have an easy exit strategy. A good rule of thumb is when grandma leaves, I leave because that is when the partying will happen,” said Isaacks.
ADVICE FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
“Sometime they will pressure them into going back into their old family role as the family drunk, so to speak. Just be respectful of their choices and allow them to say no without any pressure,” said Deidra Fuller, Director of Substance Abuse for Permia Care.
What is most essential to remember is that addiction is a disease, and there are treatments available for those who need help.
Dr. Terry Beck, the Medical Director for The Springboard Center and Turning Point, said, “I want people to understand that addiction is a disease; it’s not about people having weak morals or is a weak-willed person. Most alcoholics I know are very stubborn and hard-headed, and that’s one of the reasons why they struggle with their addiction because they think they can fix themselves.”
Never be afraid to reach out if you need help.
Watch video for extended conversation with Deidra Fuller and an inside look Turning Point, an adult residential substance abuse treatment facility in Odessa.