The holiday season is a time to gather with friends and family, but it can be a hard season for men and women who have been working on addiction recovery. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that there are 2 to 3 times more fatal accidents during Christmas and New Year when compared to other times of the year.
Furthermore, almost 40 percent of accidents involve alcohol, which compares to about 28 percent of accidents during early December. When a loved one is recovering from alcohol addiction, it is possible that he or she will slip up during the holiday season. Fortunately, you can discuss the issue openly with the family, help a loved one maintain his or her confidence in the ability to avoid alcohol and ensure that a loved one seeks treatment if he or she slips up.
Open Up Communication
Do not assume that a loved one will always be prepared for the temptations that may arise during the holidays. Open up the lines of communication and ask questions. As a family member, you can ask about his or her plan to stay on track, whether he or she has already made a check-list of potential triggers or if a loved one is worried about the holidays.
Offer compassion and support throughout the season. The University of California at Davis recommends that hosts of a party or event offer non-alcoholic beverages and that other adults can act as a role model. If it is a family event, then avoid serving any alcohol. When the family is going to an event, offer non-alcoholic beverages to a loved one to help him or her stay on track. Talking about the situation openly and having a plan of action can help a loved one avoid alcohol.
It can be tempting to blame a loved one for his or her behavior, but addiction recovery is a long-term process. Even a loved one who has not had any alcohol for several years can slip up and relapse. Ask a loved one about his or her check-list to help prevent alcohol abuse.
A check-list may include:
- Avoiding parties that serve alcohol
- Focusing on other interests during the holidays, such as shopping for children’s gifts or spending time baking cookies with the family
- Communicating with the host of an event about a preference to avoid alcohol
- Coping strategies if alcohol become tempting
As a family member, your goal is to support a loved one in any situation. Even if he or she slips up, do not use hurtful words or blame him or her. Instead, offer a compassionate response and suggest that he or she enter a treatment program.
Get Professional Help
Social Work Today states that the holidays can be an excellent time to set up an intervention for alcoholism because it is a time when the family gathers in the same area. If a loved one slips up and starts drinking during the holidays, then remind him or her that recovery is an on-going process and a relapse is not a failure. Set up an intervention for alcoholism with a professional interventionist and encourage a loved one to seek professional help immediately.
The holidays are often stressful and complicated. Due to the availability of alcohol, it is possible that a loved one may relapse and start drinking. By communicating with a loved one before he or she can drink and maintaining a compassionate stance on the situation, you can ensure that your loved one seeks treatment quickly and is able to get back on track to maintain addiction recovery for a lifetime.