Finding healing from a substance use disorder is far from easy. Recovery during the holidays can add an extra layer of tension, too. In this season that is so focused on family and togetherness, you may worry about managing sobriety and the role your family plays.
Whether you’re close to your family or relationships are rocky, there are some concrete tips you can implement for reconnecting with family this time of year. These four tools can boost your recovery for the upcoming season, and for a lifetime.
- Effective communication in recovery
- Asking for forgiveness
- Setting expectations
- Making positive memories
When you abide by these four tips for reconnecting with family, you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
Tips for reconnecting with family during recovery
Not all of those in recovery have contact with their biological families or families of origin that are still intact. For the purposes of this article, familial terms will be used, but the same lessons apply to other, non-related loved ones in your life.
1. Effective communication in recovery
Communication is an essential and lifelong skill. As time passes, our communication styles can become ingrained ruts instead of productive patterns. We may fall into hostile commentary, blaming others, accusatory tones or body language that cuts off honest communication entirely.
Sometimes these habits develop without our full awareness. Once we’re cognizant of them, however, it’s important to adjust negative habits so we can converse openly and clearly.
Moreover, it’s important to have direct and honest conversations about substance use and recovery. The subject may be taboo in your family circle, but breaking the silence and discussing important issues will make the process much smoother. Avoid conflict down the road and broach topics like the science of addiction, relapse statistics, treatment procedures and timelines and warning signs of relapse.
By communicating openly and regularly, you inform your loved ones about the reality of addiction and ways they can effectively intervene.
2. Asking for forgiveness
Odds are high that if you’ve struggled with a substance use disorder you’ve intentionally or unintentionally wounded some relationships along the line. Your family may be carrying resentment and you’re likely to have some guilt or shame about your past actions.
Take your first opportunity to apologize for the hurt you’ve caused, listing specific regrets or behaviors that have hurt others. It’s hard to own up to your mistakes, but asking for forgiveness in recovery goes a long way toward reconnecting with family. Apologizing before the holidays can also ease any tension going into family events.
3. Setting expectations of family recovery support
Your family is one of your best assets in recovery, and there are many ways that your family can help. Your parents may provide transportation to rehab or financial assistance with medical bills. Your spouse can manage your medications for you and set reminders for daily doses. Your extended family and friends can provide encouragement through weekly phone calls.
Reconnecting with family in recovery can provide a lot of benefits, but it’s important to communicate clear expectations and boundaries from both sides. Your loved ones offer crucial support during your toughest days, and you’ll find that their help can ease your stress and make sobriety smoother. However, the truth is that recovery is up to you and how you apply the lessons learned in treatment to your life.
Recovery during the holidays, and year-round, means that you can depend on your family for some things, but the decision to stay sober is always a solo choice. Only you can commit to combatting triggers, doing the hard work and assessing what is effective and what isn’t.
Have a conversation about family recovery support with those closest to you. List out your expectations for yourself and your loved ones, and ask that they do the same. Be sure to let your family members know that you need extra support during this time, but that you understand their need to balance care for themselves, too.
Consider discussing questions similar to the following:
- How long can I expect to have your financial assistance to pay for housing?
- Can I depend on you for rides to treatment for the next month? Are you able to help me explore options for transportation after that?
- I know your family time is a priority. Can you give me a schedule of when it’s a reasonable time to call for support?
- The holidays are hard for me, what days am I able to stop by if I’m overwhelmed by urges to use?
These conversations demonstrate respect and show that you’re serious about getting sober without wearing down your support team, especially during this busy time of year.
4. Make positive memories
Recovery during the holidays brings its fair share of challenges, but it should also be met with occasions for joy and festivity. This season is the perfect opportunity to start fresh in your relationships and bring new energy to your healing journey.
Participate in old family traditions, host a delectable family dinner or start new holiday events that include games, cooking, baking, decorating, movie marathons or sledding. Activities that engage your inner child and promote play are mentally healthy and don’t invite opportunities to relapse as some holiday parties might.
Embrace this holiday season as a time to reconnect with family members and loved ones while finding support for your sobriety.
Get all the help you need managing the business of the season, family conflict and recovery stressors with Silvermist Recovery. Make recovery your own and contact us today.