Family gatherings can be a stressful situation for anyone, but trying to remain sober during them can be an added layer of tension. This can be especially true for individuals who are in early recovery. Family dynamics can be complicated, particularly when there is a painful past. It is not uncommon for emotions to be triggered during family gatherings. People may not have seen each other for a while, and family members may ask uncomfortable questions to the individual who is in recovery. Learning how to deal with family gatherings while sober is an important part of recovery. Here at The Healing Center, we understand these situations are difficult. Thus, with the holidays approaching we have put together a guide on dealing with family gatherings while sober.
Why Are Family Gatherings While Sober Stressful?
When individuals are in active addiction they are normally using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with stress and negative emotions. Furthermore, addiction leads to trauma for the entire family. Thus, family events can be stressful even after the individual achieves sobriety.
The most important part of early recovery is developing the coping skills to deal with stressors and triggers. This includes learning how to navigate family dynamics. Some family members may not understand why you can no longer drink. Others may hold onto anger and resentments from past actions. No matter what it is vital to be prepared for some possibly triggering interactions when attending family gatherings while sober.
Ways Of Coping With Family Gatherings While Sober
There are a number of different ways of coping with family gatherings while sober. Here at The Healing Center, we teach our clients healthy coping skills and provide them with family therapy sessions in order to make these situations easier. The following are tools that can be implemented in order to make social gatherings easier in sobriety.
Put Aside Any Insecurities And Resentments
Family events are about creating positive memories and gratitude. They normally reunite individuals who have not been together for a long period of time. Although some personalities do not mix well, or people may say backhanded remarks, it is important to put these things aside. The holidays are bigger than one awkward interaction. Be mindful that these events were not something you were able to enjoy while in addiction. Furthermore, it is important to remember that any feelings brought up are temporary and will subside.
Support can help alleviate stress and social anxiety. Supportive individuals can include parents, siblings, friends, or other family members. Make your fears and worries clear to the other person. They can provide a listening ear, encouragement, and emotional support. Furthermore, they can help conversations flow smoother and divert away from any topics that could be triggering or difficult.
Be Careful About What You Say
When an individual is sober they have the ability to be more careful about what they say. Communication is key in any interaction, this includes social gatherings with family. When someone is in early recovery it is important to avoid confrontation when possible. Maintaining composure and offering kindness is a great way to avoid any unnecessary arguments. Let other people’s emotional reactions be their own and do not take them on. Often, if you do not engage, then the other person will calm down or disengage.
Don’t Start Drinking Alcohol or Using Drugs
Sometimes alcohol or drugs will be present during family events. In these situations attending family gatherings while sober can be extremely difficult. Relapsing is the worst choice a person can make while in recovery. Utilize the tools in your relapse prevention plan if you start to have cravings. Remember, nothing is worth getting drunk or high over no matter how emotional or uncomfortable.
It Is Ok To Leave or Decline The Invitation
It’s always an option to leave early or decline the invitation all together. This is particularly vital if alcohol or drugs will be at the party. There is no reason to feel guilty or ashamed about protecting your own recovery. Sobriety should come first no matter what. Remember, family relationships will not heal if you don’t maintain your recovery. This may mean leaving early or deciding not to attend entirely.
Addiction Treatment In Fort Lauderdale, FL
Here at The Healing Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL we provide our clients both individual therapy and family therapy. During sessions we help clients process previous traumas relating to family and teach coping skills. This helps make family gatherings while sober easier for our clients after they leave our drug rehab facility. To learn more about our addiction treatment facility in South Florida visit our admissions page and fill out the contact form. One of our staff members will give you a call in order to see how we can help you start your healing journey today!