It’s Christmas time and you’re getting ready to host a houseful of guests.
You’re excited about the opportunity to spend this special holiday with family and friends, but you have a loved one who is recovering from substance abuse.
How do you know how to prepare? How can you support your loved one while also enjoying your own time? These are just some questions that may be running through your mind.
We’re here to help you with some tips on how to cope when your holiday guest is recovering from alcoholism or addiction. Read our blog to find some helpful advice.
1) Plan Activities That Don’t Revolve Around Drinking
A lot of times, parties and get-togethers are filled with holiday drinking games. This can put pressure on your guest who is a recovering alcoholic and may even be a trigger for relapse.
Instead of drinking games, create some fun activities that do not involve alcohol. How about a holiday movie marathon, ugly sweater contests, or playing the classic charades? These are great ways to connect with your loved ones without the pressure to drink.
2) Have Tasty Non-alcoholic Beverages Available
You might be confused about what to do if you have other guests who expect alcohol to be present. If it is not possible for you to hold a sober party, make sure that you are mindful of your guest who is recovering from addiction.
Make sure that you have non-alcoholic drinks for your sober guests. Have a variety of options like fresh juices, coconut water, soda water, iced tea, etc. Having these drinks on hand allows your sober guest to participate in the festivities while still having some tasty beverage options.
3) Do Not Leave Alcoholic Drinks Easily Accessible
Another important reminder is that make sure you don’t have alcoholic drinks lying around for anyone to access including your guest in addiction recovery. For example, avoid having a keg of beer, opened wine bottles, or a punch bowl in the kitchen or dining area.
Having alcoholic drinks easily accessible can be a major trigger for your guest who is trying to stay sober, so make sure that you store these beverages away safely out of sight and reach from guests.
If you must serve alcohol, serve these to guests in individual glasses or servings. Alternatively, have someone tending the bar to ensure that the flow of alcohol is controlled.
4) Create A Welcoming Atmosphere That Will Not Make Them Feel Left Out
A person in recovery can have a difficult time socializing especially if their battle with addiction is very recent. This can make them feel like an outsider in a group setting.
So when you have a holiday guest recovering from addiction, try to create a welcoming atmosphere that doesn’t make them feel like they must stay quiet and isolated out of fear of judgment or pressure to drink too much.
If you see that they are standing alone, try to involve them in activities or engage them in conversations. Make them feel that you value and appreciate their presence. However, be careful also not to push them to participate if they are not comfortable. Don’t put them on the spot or force them to do something they’re not ready for.
Remember that a loved one who is recovering from addiction faces many social challenges and dealing with these can be very stressful. So make your holiday guests feel loved, valued, and supported by providing options but also giving them space when needed.
5) Don’t Treat Them Differently From Other Guests
While it is important to be sensitive and mindful of their needs like making non-alcoholic drinks available and involving them in activities, it is also important not to be too weird when interacting with them.
Yes, it is advised to ensure that you’re making them feel welcomed, respected, and loved for being there. But at the same time, avoid treating them like they are fragile or like they will shatter at any moment. This can be condescending and it may even trigger their insecurities about fitting into social situations without alcohol.
Act normally. Don’t ask probing questions or be too invasive. Unless they open the subject, don’t bring up their addiction either. Make them feel like they’re just another guest and avoid any unnecessary fuss or attention given to them.
With these tips, your holiday guest in recovery will surely have a more enjoyable time with you during the celebrations instead of feeling awkward and left out.