As the holiday season comes into full-swing on Thanksgiving, families are confronted with the uncertainty related to Covid-19 and their lives. Also, if someone in their family is in recovery, they concerned about a holiday relapse. Furthermore, time-honored traditions and long-held practices in celebrating holidays are up in the air as the world continues to cope with the impact of the Corona Virus pandemic.
According to the CDC, almost 41% of the population in the U.S. report experiencing mental health issues as a result of the pandemic, including anxiety, depression, and trauma-related symptoms. At the same time, about 13% of Americans concede to starting or increasing substance use. This puts people in recovery with heightened stress and an intensified risk for relapse. You see, individuals in recovery depend on 12-step support groups in the same way people rely on religious freedom to worship together. Additionally, many 12-step groups rent space from churches and synagogues, so when they are shut down, so are the 12-step group meetings.
Get by With a Little Help from Family and Friends
Family members’ worries about a possible holiday relapse is pretty typical (especially, if you are newly sober).I can still remember my first sober holidays and watching my dad box up the liquor and hide it in his bedroom. While this may seem appropriate, family members need to be calm at this time of year when it comes to trying to prevent a relapse. They should take the risk of relapse genuinely without overpowering their loved one’s ability to enjoy the holidays. Openly emphasizing someone in recovery is going to put everyone in the family on edge. Just imagine the whispering that takes place when families arrive at their Thanksgiving celebration and they are not so subtlety reminded that “Jimmy” is only nine weeks out of rehab.
The point is that a holiday relapse prevention plan needs to start before the actual holidays, and not some perfunctory event that has dad stashing his booze and mom removing Tylenol from the medicine cabinet. Simply stated, family members need to gather with their recovering loved ones and consider with them what can be prepared to make them feel comfortable and supported during the silly season. Also, there needs to be additional conversations about triggers and cravings. In this way, the elephant in the room is not so big with everyone participating in a plan that is supportive but not overpowering.
Telemedicine Video Chat with a Therapist or 12-Step Group
It may also be advantageous to discuss these issues with a therapist through video chat and include the primary family members. In this way, the therapist can hold a family therapy video chat that is now available through use of telemedicine. Moreover, the therapist can make custom suggestions since are familiar with the family’s interactions through a loved one’s addiction treatment experience. At the same time, recovering individuals can participate in 12-step zoom meetings. While this may not be ideal, it is another way to connect with sober supports during this extraordinary Covid-19 period. The bottom-line is that the holidays are always tough on the newly sober and this year even more due to the pandemic, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying your family while putting your recovery first. It is the most important thing in your life which makes everything else possible!
Simple Path Recovery is a beach side, boutique addiction treatment center located in Pompano Beach, FL. Recognized as an intimate Florida Drug & Alcohol Rehab, Simple Path is committed to individualized care, 12-step integration, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Their addiction helpline is available 24/7 at 855-467-3625.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.