The holidays are usually a joyful time of fellowship and bonding with family and loved ones. But for recovering teen addicts, the holidays may bring up unpleasant memories and opportunities to reconnect with bad influences. If your recovering teen is showing signs of disconnectedness, resentment and anger mismanagement, he/she may be on the verge of relapse. Here are five tips to help your teen stay sober this holiday season.
Tips for Helping Your Teen Stay Sober during the Holidays
1. Set Boundaries
Have an open and honest conversation with your teen about what you both would like to accomplish during the holidays. Let them know your expectations of their behavior during celebrations and come up with a relapse prevention plan to safely navigate how to keep them sober while at home and other family gatherings. Make sure they are not catching up with old friends who may influence them to use.
2. Avoid Drama
Your recovering teen needs to feel safe, accepted and loved at all times. If there are family members who are unaware of your teen’s recovery, inform them on their addiction and treatment, and create a drama-free environment during family holiday gatherings. Don’t allow them to feel like an outsider during the holidays.
3. Hold Substance-Free Celebrations
Do not put your teen in environments that will trigger them to use. If you knew your teen was trying to lose weight, you wouldn’t put cupcakes in front of them. In the same way, if your teen is in recovery, you should avoid placing alcohol or substances in front of them that can encourage a relapse. Instead of having a party, keep all festivities as peaceful as possible. A party-like environment may bring up old memories of drug abuse
4. Ask. Don’t Assume.
When helping your teen stay sober, It is best to listen to them. Don’t assume you know what does and does not trigger them. Be patient and ask questions. If your teen is reluctant to open up, contact their therapist or sponsor to get a better understanding of their recovery process.
5. Limit Their Free Time
When school is out, teens who struggle with addiction may be more inclined to relapse due to boredom at home. Find a way to keep your teen busy and active during the holidays. Plan physical recreational activities with your teen and other fun sober activities the whole family can enjoy. Don’t let them feel alone.