couple celebrates the holidays
By BrightView
Author Mikaela Taylor, LMHC
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Mikaela Taylor, LMHC

Mikaela Taylor is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and is the State Behavioral Health Director. Mikaela has grown with BrightView and... read more

Published: December 9, 2021
Updated: December 16, 2021

The holiday season can be overwhelming and stressful for anyone; however, it can be even more so for those in recovery. Most people who have been in recovery for a while or have a few years of experience with sobriety are more skilled at navigating the waters of temptation at holiday social gatherings. It might be more of a challenge for those in their first year of recovery and their friends and family, who might not know how best to celebrate the holidays comfortably and smartly around someone in recovery. When someone you love is enrolled in ongoing addiction treatment during the holidays, it is vital that you learn how to support them at this time of year.

At BrightView, we understand that going through the holidays in recovery can be a challenge. We are here to help those in recovery and their loved ones enjoy a sober holiday season together with the guidance of relapse prevention resources, individual counseling, and family therapy. Whether you are planning ahead for the holidays or need immediate assistance, call us at 888.501.9865 for recovery support. We are available to help 24/7, so you and your family can share sober holidays together.

How to Help Loved Ones Celebrate the Holidays in Recovery

If you plan to host a festive event and know that it might include inviting one of your friends who is new to recovery, it is best to start by asking if you can do anything to make your holiday event more supportive for them. Sometimes, people in recovery are worried they are inconveniencing you, so they may not speak up about their needs. Even if they tell you that it is not necessary to make any changes to your event, you can take the initiative to be more accommodating by:

  • Inviting your loved one to bring along another friend who is in recovery for moral support
  • Asking if they have a particular beverage preference
  • Letting them know that they can step out if their schedules require them to attend a meeting or simply to get some fresh air, no questions asked
  • Telling them it is okay to leave the event if triggers become too intense and you will not hold it against them

Helping your loved one get through the holidays in recovery by using the above tips will show them you care and are dedicated to sharing a sober holiday season with them.

Why It Can Be So Challenging for Someone in Recovery to Have a Sober Holiday Season

It is important to be mindful that the holiday season comes stacked with shopping, cooking, traveling, and other errands, and people in recovery might be experiencing deeper financial strains and personal stressors. All of this can be a bit overwhelming. While the holidays are a time for celebration and joy, they can also bring about memories of:

  • Lost loved ones
  • Intense feelings of hurt, anger, blame, shame, or guilt about their past and how they might have brought this on their loved ones
  • How life was before the substance use disorder took over

Recovery in its early stages brings resurrected cognizance of the harm one has caused themselves or others during their active substance use disorder (SUD). The brain and body are still repairing themselves and healing from the effects of SUD. People in early recovery are still learning how to handle and cope with feelings and emotions and properly function in social settings where using a substance is not an option.

Fortunately, many people do well in recovery over the holidays. Simply asking that person what you can do to help them in their recovery can make a world of difference.

BrightView: Making Sober Holidays Easier for Families in Recovery

Getting through the holidays in recovery can feel difficult for those in early recovery. With support from BrightView, you and your loved ones can start making new holiday memories that are conducive to sobriety. Our outpatient programs offer individual, and family therapy along with medication assisted treatment as needed. Reach out to us at 888.501.9865 anytime you need additional support or guidance to stay on track for recovery.