HR Corner: Supporting Those in Recovery During the Holidays

December 18, 2019 - 3:45am

HR Corner

With the holiday season just around the corner, and invitations to gathering with family, friends and co-workers are already starting to come in, it is important to remember that these events can often be a source of stress for many people.

For someone in recovery, the memories and celebrations attached to the season can be particularly challenging. They often include tempting environments and social scenarios that may create conditions that increase the risk of relapse. Homewood Health offers some useful tips for you to help support those people in your life who are going through recovery during this holiday season and how you can help them feel connected to friends, family and people within their communities.

How can you support someone in recovery?

If you are involved with someone who is recovering from addiction, here are some tips to remember:

  • Addiction is not a character flaw. As someone supporting a person in recovery, it is important to understand that addiction is a medical condition and not a character flaw in the individual. Addiction is both a medical and psychological disorder, and long-term use of drugs and/or alcohol can physically change the size and structure of brain cells.
  • Educate yourself on signs of relapse. Depending on the nature of a person’s addiction, signs of relapse can vary. Pay attention to when the individual may seem “off”, especially if that off feeling or behavior persists. Educate yourself about their addiction, and be bold about speaking up.
  • Listen. Be there to support and listen to the person when needed. This may mean picking up the phone no matter what time of day, answering all texts, or just hearing what they have to say when they need to talk. You do not have to “fix” anything. The simple act of listening is often well received and a big help.
  • Encourage and engage in healthy habits with them. Be a positive example to show how constructive lifestyle changes can support general well-being. Small things like making better meal choices, or becoming active through physical or leisure activities, are all positive lifestyle choices. Be sure to avoid places or actions that could cause relapse.
  • Be supportive. Helping an individual to get to their recovery meetings and/or support groups, or attending with them, can indicate that you are there for them. This can help to keep individuals accountable for showing up and provides an opportunity to demonstrate support for recovery.
  • Be patient. Remember that recovery is not easy and changes won’t happen overnight. Relapse can occur and an individual in recovery may not always be wholly focused or happy about living in sobriety. This is normal! Sticking through the ups and downs can help to get through whatever distractions or obstacles may occur as the individual grows into their new life in recovery.

During this time of year, you may want to offer further support for the individual through helping to create an action plan for these events/invitations and working with them to make plans for social events. All of this information is available to you within the full article from Homewood Health available at www.Homeweb.ca > Lifestyle > Supporting Those in Recovery during the Holidays.

Remember that Homewood Health is available at 1-800-663-1142 every day of the year (including holidays) and the service is completely confidential!


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