Part 2: Addiction, Recovery, and Navigating the Holidays

Supporting a Loved One

The holiday season is here and that means all the fun and stress that comes with it. If you have a loved one who suffers from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), you know that means even more stress. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 2 million Americans misuse opioids.1 You are not alone in this struggle.

For those who know a loved one who is using opioids, holiday expectations may already be affecting the entire family. Your loved one will be struggling with family expectations and shame. They may increase their use at holiday events or avoid family gatherings altogether. Either way, it is a very dangerous situation. This could be the year to change your holiday traditions. Eliminating old patterns can be the opening for recovery.

Having a Plan
As anxiety increases approaching the holidays, rethink your expectations of a traditional holiday and plan for positive change can be the best way to handle OUD. To create a family plan, communicate with everyone on how this holiday may be different. Clinical professionals offer common ways to support someone struggling with addiction during the holidays including:

  • Respect limitations
  • Avoid bringing up the past
  • Plan sober events
  • Give the gift of recovery
  • Research resources for addiction treatment2

Addiction treatment practitioners agree that the best time to seek treatment is always now. Although the holidays may seem like a time to delay detox, postponing help is never a good idea regardless of the inconvenience of the time. Further, recovery is believed to be most successful with the support and guidance of family.

As the family of a person with OUD, everyone will need professional support during the recovery process. The first step should be reaching out to specialists that can guide you through the steps for getting help for your loved one. Make sure to have support for yourself in place before moving forward. If you need assistance finding local resources, contact SAMHSA’s National Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for referrals and information.

As part of a recovery plan, Speranza Therapeutics offers a new treatment solution to help relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms. S.T. Genesis is an FDA-cleared device that supports the reduction of opioid withdrawal symptoms by targeting the areas of the brain responsible for pain and anxiety. The noninvasive device can be the pathway between detox and long-term recovery for your loved one.

This holiday season may look different for your family but can be the first step to many more happy holidays in the future.