By Brianna Rodgers, LMFT, ASAT, EMDR, CTT

As we approach the holiday season, here are some ways you and your family can prepare to stay on the path to recovery.

Potential triggers

  • Family gatherings: Family conflict is more likely to arise, and buttons are pushed.
  • Holiday parties: Many holiday parties involve potentially destructive people, substances and behaviors.
  • Extended time off: While many celebrate extended breaks from school and work, it can be difficult for someone in recovery to go without the consistent structure and community that work or school provides them.
  • Postponed recovery meetings: While sponsors reserve the right to spend time with their loved ones, unanticipated changes or cancellations may present a challenge to someone in recovery.
  • Environmental triggers: A room, an old friend, a store, a building, a house — these may all have significant memories attached to them that we won’t think about until we’re back in that environment.

Practical tips

  • Plan ahead. Before you visit friends or return home, it’s important to have a plan. What will you do when you need a break? A healthy lifestyle is not something we can afford to leave to chance — we need a plan.
  • Attend recovery-friendly events. Don’t feel pressured to be in an environment that is not conducive to your recovery.
  • Talk to your sponsor. It can be tempting to neglect your resources during the holiday season, but please utilize them. Discuss with your sponsor ahead of time if they plan to be unavailable for any length of time during the holiday season, and plan accordingly.
  • Set boundaries. In order to protect your progress, incorporate boundaries that have proved to be helpful for you.
  • Engage in community service. This is a healthy way to stay productive, occupied, and around others who care.

How you can support someone in recovery during the holidays

One of the best indicators for success during the recovery journey is a supportive community. Supporting someone in recovery does not require you to have all the answers. Support can look like listening, being honest, and honoring boundaries.

Capstone Treatment Center offers residential therapy programs for young men 18-26 and teenage boys 14-17 with a wide range of mental health struggles, compulsions, addictions, and self-destructive behaviors. Every young man who enters our program receives a puppy on admission and takes that puppy home when they graduate. Capstone provides the best client-to-therapist ratio in the country and devotes personal attention to our clients and families to develop a relationship that is vital to success.