How to Support a Loved One in Recovery during the Holidays


This year, many families may be grateful for the sobriety of a loved one, but many people in recovery feel daunted by the stress and pressure that comes along with the holiday season. It can sometimes be awkward to balance the celebratory atmosphere of the holidays, which often leans toward excess, with the restraint and thoughtfulness needed to support a person in recovery.

But there are easy ways to show you care, and want to have an active hand in the maintenance of their sobriety. Make sure to ask your loved ones how you can help. They may request that you avoid serving or consuming alcohol in their presence, or they may ask that you have non-alcoholic options available at any holiday parties.

Being around alcohol isn’t the only relapse trigger that those in recovery face during the holiday season; they may also encounter people who either remind them of their life before treatment, or people who cause them to feel stress and subsequently want to turn to drugs or alcohol. Lending a supportive ear and offering to act as a distraction or buffer (or even avoiding inviting that person to any events or parties at all) can be tremendously helpful.

Most importantly, encourage and participate in an open dialogue with your loved one who is in recovery. Remind them that any feelings of stress about the holiday season are totally normal and, more importantly, manageable. Direct them to meetings or encourage them to call their sponsor if you feel they need more support or insight than you can offer.

Your loved one may feel embarrassed or weak for having to request special treatment in order to make it through the holiday season sober. If that’s the case, it’s important to tell them that you recognize addiction for what it is: a disease.

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