Make Holidays a Time for Togetherness and Not Stressfulness

Published on December 6, 2019
Mountainside Canaan Aerial Shot

Canaan, CT – While the holidays are often viewed as a time for joy and celebration, they can also put a strain on relationships as people try to balance their own needs with those of their loved ones. Family pressures can lead to stress, which can be especially harmful for people in recovery and put them at risk for relapse. Mountainside treatment center is offering tips on how to keep relationships strong during the holidays without putting a loved one’s sobriety at risk:

  1. Start new traditions. Family holiday traditions often revolve around food and drink, and a person in recovery may not feel comfortable being surrounded by alcohol. Before heading out to a party or planning a dinner, talk to them about their feelings, and let them know they are an important part of the celebration. If they are uncomfortable, consider starting your own sober holiday traditions that give people an opportunity to bond without alcohol. Invite family and friends ice skating, sledding, or even to the movies. Simply spending some quality time together can strengthen relationships and improve family dynamics.
  2. Focus on fun. High expectations surrounding holiday celebrations can lead to anxiety and stress, which can trigger unhealthy behaviors. Adapt a more carefree approach to the season and take breaks from shopping and planning by going for a walk or practicing yoga.
  3. Money isn’t everything. Along with the merriment, the holiday season can carry with it added pressure to spend heavily. It is common for people to feel stressed during the holidays over gift-giving, especially how to pay for all of them. Set a realistic budget and encourage creative, homemade gifts.
  4. Find support. The holidays are a particularly busy time for everyone, but it is important for your loved one in recovery to make time to connect with their support network. Encourage them to reach out to their sponsor and friends in recovery. Suggest that they attend an extra meeting or two prior to the holidays. Since travel, weather, and personal obligations can make it difficult for people in recovery to attend their local support groups during the holidays, Mountainside is providing virtual meetings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through Jan. 7. The groups will offer peer-to-peer support and allow people to share their experiences on a broad array of timely and engaging topics, including navigating the stress of the holidays. To participate in a Virtual Recovery Support Group, visit Meetings will be facilitated by Nicole Cordani, Recovery Support Clinician at Mountainside. Additionally, Mountainside’s 24/7 Holiday Helpline will be available through January 6 for anyone who is considering recovery or needs help maintaining sobriety. Those looking for additional support can dial 833-200-6665.

With planning and understanding, your family can look forward to the holidays with anticipation instead of dread. “The holidays can be a difficult time for anyone, but it is especially important for people in recovery to minimize stress as much as possible,” says Amy Sedgwick, Director of Clinical Operations at Mountainside. “People should feel safe and comfortable at family gatherings.”