Whether you realize it or not, you know someone who has been affected by addiction and mental health disorders. According to the Surgeon General, one in seven Americans will face a substance abuse disorder.
The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for those who are in recovery, as a lot of parties, gifts, and festivities are based around drinking and recreational drug use. This is a time when most sober individuals may need a little extra “boost”, or some extra support as they work through this challenging time of year.
5 Ways To Support Your Sober Loved One
While it’s not your responsibility to censor yourself for the comfort of others, you can still to be an ally to the people in your life who are sober. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Educate Yourself In recent years, a vague knowledge of addiction has become standard for a lot of people, and more research is being done every single day. We’re aware that addiction is a disease, that anyone can become addicted regardless of race/gender/economic status, and that addiction requires intervention. Despite the growing knowledge of addiction, there are still many people who just aren’t aware of the issue and what it truly entails. In order to support those around you who are sober or in recovery, do some research of your own. Find out what addiction really means, the signs and symptoms of a relapse, and what your loved one has gone through in order to get to the point they’re at now.
Ask Them How You Can Support Them There are tons of different ways you can support people who are in recovery. In order to make sure you’re supporting your loved one in the way that they need, communicate with them. Ask them what would be most helpful. Find out what their triggers are. Have a discussion about places that make them uncomfortable or leave them feeling vulnerable.
Avoid Glorifying Your (or other’s) Substance Use It can be easy to swap “war stories” with other people who have struggled with substance abuse, especially if they haven’t recognized that they have a problem or received treatment for it. Try not to discuss the details of your own personal substance use, even if it may seem innocent to you, it could be triggering to sober individuals. If you’re in a group of people who are beginning to talk about how “messed up” they got last night, steer the conversation toward something more neutral and supportive of sobriety.
Plan Social Activities That Aren’t Centered Around Drug & Alcohol Use Especially around the holidays, parties, family gatherings, and other events can be largely centered around alcohol. In order to make sure your sober friends and family can be included without getting triggered or feeling out of place, consider planning get-togethers that don’t include drinking or using drugs. Substitute going to a bar with going to a coffee shop or café, or even opt for an activity like bowling or a board game night.
Be Patient Recovery is a long, difficult, and scary journey. Your loved one may not always be able to articulate what they’re going through or experiencing, especially in the early stages of sobriety. It’s important that you do your best to be patient with them. They may not always know exactly what they need. They’re still figuring it out just as much as you are.
Getting Help During The Holidays
If you or someone you know is struggling this holiday season, you are not alone. Substance abuse and mental health issues become more difficult to deal with during the holidays.
Sandstone Care offers a full continuum of care for teens and young adults who are struggling with substance abuse and mental health concerns. Because the holiday season can be difficult, our medical detox and teen residential programs stay open in order to ensure that our clients have access to the resources that they need.
If you or someone you know is struggling, consider reaching out to one of our passionate and knowledgeable admissions coordinators. They would be more than happy to guide you through the process of finding resources and help for your situation.
Let’s take the next steps together
We understand taking the first step is difficult. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help or more information. We are here to support you in any way we can.