Supporting loved ones recovering from addiction during the holidays

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 10:02 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Preparing for the holidays may come as a challenge for people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, especially when temptation is at the holiday table.

As with a disease or illness, a person in recovery does not want to be treated differently or questioned about their treatment at a holiday party.

“Because that feels more like prying, as opposed to just a generalized sense of ‘how’s your life going?’ Let them choose what they want to tell you and what they don’t want to tell you about,” said Ian Cole, manager of Stages of Recovery.

However, if there’s alcohol available, someone recovering may not feel comfortable joining.

Instead of feeling hurt, experts suggest finding a compromise like allowing your loved one to come early to open presents.

“It’s hard not to get our feelings hurt in that situation, but have an open dialogue and a compromise; maybe he doesn’t want to join for Christmas dinner, but he could come over an hour earlier to open up presents or something like that, right? I think that there’s a way for everybody to get along and still get their needs met,” Cole said.

It is also okay to set boundaries and not invite someone with an addiction problem. Cole recommends making sure you express your support.

“Text them, tell them ‘I love you, Tom, Merry Christmas, happy holidays, happy Hanukkah,’ whatever it is that you celebrate, tell them that and then tell them ‘whenever you’re ready to get help, I’m here for you at the drop of a hat,’” Cole said.

If you suspect your loved one may have an addiction problem, call a local clinic to get advice. Cole advises avoiding having an intervention until after the holidays. That way, you can address it in private when someone is typically more receptive.

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