Family gatherings can be stressful for anyone, but especially for those who are in the first stages of their sobriety. While there is always a tremendous amount of love that exists between family members, there are also sometimes reminders of a painful past. Family members know more intimately a person’s struggles and insecurities, and sometimes emotions can flare at family gatherings. People who haven’t seen each other in a while may reunite, and an addict in recovery may be asked all sorts of intrusive questions. For people in the early stages of sobriety here are 5 tips on dealing with family gatherings.
One: Put Aside Your Insecurities For One Day
The holidays and family gatherings are about people coming together and being grateful for the blessings in their life. A family get together often reunites family members who haven’t seen each other in a while. People may unknowingly say rude and thoughtless things, but this is the time to put aside your securities for one day. The holidays are bigger than just one person, and for a small period of time just socialize with family and bask in the holiday spirit. If a tense situation arises, remember that it’s only temporary.
Two: Find Allies For The Get-Together
Whether the allies are parents, siblings, or even a friend, they are good to have at parties. They can provide emotional and social support. When someone knows that there’s a person who is looking out for them, it can help someone recovering from addiction relax and able to have a better time. The ally can help steer conversations away from sensitive subjects and serve as a buffer between the addict in recovery and any particularly abrasive personalities.
Three: Always Choose Words Carefully
When a person is sober, one is able to filter words more carefully. At family get-togethers tact is always useful to have. Someone in the early stages of sobriety doesn’t want to get into a needless argument or confrontation, so be polite, be kind, and bite your tongue if need be. The individual shouldn’t let anyone emotionally upset them, and by choosing words carefully this will help nullify any potential arguments or disagreements.
Four: Don’t Drink Alcohol No Matter What
Sometimes no matter what, alcohol will be served at a family gathering. As tempting as it might be, drinking at a family get together is probably one of the worst things someone in the early stages of sobriety can do. Besides the feelings of guilt afterwards, an emotionally fragile person is putting themselves into an explosive situation when drinking. Sip on cider, and purposely stay away from people who are drinking.
Five: It’s Ok To Leave Early
If there is drinking at the party, the addict in recovery should feel free to leave early. There’s no need to feel guilty, because it should be remembered that by taking care of oneself inevitably this will help the people closest to the individual. When someone is first starting to live a sober life, then sobriety always comes first, so that a full and fulfilled life can eventually be lead. And if this means ducking out of a situation that one is not ready for, then it should be done.
Despite the problems that may occur at a family gathering, essentially it should be a fun and heartwarming occasion. There is always lots of food, laughter, and nostalgic memories that are shared between family members. If someone in the early stages of sobriety can follow the tips listed above, one will have a better chance of enjoying the holidays and family gatherings. Ultimately, families should love and support each other no matter what, and someone recovering from an addiction can use that love and support as motivation to stay sober.