The holidays are a stressful time for all of us, but more so for people in recovery from a substance use disorder, as well as the many battling depression (often without us being aware). Your time and support during this holiday time is critically important to your loved ones.

Think about it – if you were newly in recovery and seeing your extended family for the first time (knowing they have all been aware of your struggles), how would you feel when you walked into the family holiday party for the first time? Chances are you would feel everyone’s eyes on you (even if they weren’t). You might feel embarrassed or overwhelmed or even ashamed of past behaviors. There’s a high probability that you somehow hurt some of the people in the room you are now entering as sober human in recovery for the first time in a very long time. That’s a lot to juggle, especially for someone just returning to real life after a period of time when they lived under the influence of substance.

Basically, remorse and self-consciousness will probably take over and make it difficult for you to interact naturally, as the new, positive, sober human you are!

So, since it’s not you, it’s your loved one, please be aware of the discomfort they might be feeling and make an extra effort to be inclusive, but not overbearing. Talk to them! Ask them to help throw a salad together…whatever seems natural and simple. The goal is to make them feel comfortable and at home.

And with regard to the elephant in the room (alcohol), be up front about it. Ask your friend or relative beforehand. Find out if they want to drink or not, and how you can best support them. Everyone recovers in a different way. Some abstain completely from alcohol. Some don’t. Either way, it’s their recovery and their choice. If you’re concerned, you can always choose to make your event alcohol-free. Because, in the end, in the moment, it’s their choice.

Holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Thinking about these situations ahead of time will help you to make the holidays wonderful for everyone.

An unintentional leader, influencer, and socialpreneur, Jean Krisle intentionally founded and continues to lead 10,000 Beds, a 501c3 nonprofit organization now in its 7th year of operation. Building from a desire to support the many individuals without resources seeking help for a substance use disorder, Jean built 10,000 Beds from a simple idea to a nationwide, life-changing and inspirational force in the addiction & recovery community with more than $10,000,000 in addiction treatment scholarships awarded nationwide.

As an admired speaker, coach, and consultant, Jean speaks from decades of personal experience on the critical strengths of courage, hope, and resilience in business and personal lives. Jean motivates us to face each day with courage, tenacity, hope, and resiliency. She inspires all of us to recognize the strengths we’ve gained through the challenges we’ve faced.

Jean passionately reminds us that we are all in recovery from something and that recovery from anything- loss, failure, disappointment, addictions, etc. – is something we should build on and be proud of! And she teaches us how to do it! For more information about Jean’s availability please contact her via email at