Looking for helpful tips for navigating the holidays in early sobriety

self-care

#1

My husband is 30 days sober from alcohol today and this is his longest stretch of sobriety ever. He is recently home from attending an in-patient treatment center and very excited and optimistic about his recovery, which is refreshing to see. However, we are planning to travel for a very short trip for Christmas to see my family, all of whom know that he has sought treatment and is sober, and most of whom are heavy drinkers themselves. I’ve decided to get a hotel rather than stay with family, as this will allow us time to decompress alone and also leave if people are choosing to drink heavily. I’m wondering if you all have any other tips that may help us navigate this holiday season. I don’t think asking my family for a dry holiday will work, sadly, but I’m hoping for suggestions on how to talk about his recovery, set good boundaries so we’re both practicing good self-care while we’re there, how we can communicate if he’s feeling uncomfortable, and if there is a good way to have these conversations with family or planning ahead with my husband beforehand so we all know what to expect.

I appreciate your thoughts on this!


#2

Hi @Tlee22 - that is so great your husband is 30 days sober! My husband was in very early recovery around the holiday season as well - he actually got back from rehab the day before Christmas Eve. And I’m in the same situation where his family all drink very heavily and have no intention to not drink just because he’s around - nor does he want/expect them to. I don’t drink at family parties either because 1) I don’t care for drinking much anyway and 2) it’s another way I feel I can support his sobriety.

As far as conversations go… I’ve found that most ppl don’t want to talk about it. It makes them uncomfortable. That said, if questions do come up you may want to talk to your husband about what he feels most comfortable sharing. Sometimes when ppl ask me how my husband is doing, I will say, “He’s doing good. You should ask him, too.” I feel like a lot of ppl don’t want to ask him directly but it is actually helpful for him when other ppl ask how he’s doing - it shows that they care and are not just avoiding the situation. IMO recovery should be something to be proud of and talked about openly, but of course everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to talking about it.

Talk to your husband. Ask him how he’s feeling about the situation, his fears and possible triggers, and how you can best support him. Don’t be afraid to leave at any time if you are feeling uncomfortable or tired. Being social without alcohol can be exhausting if you’re not used to it. Don’t feel bad for saying no to certain social gatherings to take care of yourself. I noticed my husband being very quiet at first without alcohol and I realized it was like he was relearning how to be social.

Great idea getting a hotel room. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday! :pray:t4::sparkles:


#3

I think you’re exactly right that my family probably won’t bring it up, which I think will make us both feel weird… I don’t want it to feel like the elephant in the room. I share your sentiment, I am SO PROUD of the work he’s done and want to tell the world how amazing it is, but of course, I want to honor his pace on talking publicly about it and including others in the conversation. We talked about this a bit and my husband said he doesn’t plan to bring it up, but is happy to talk about how he’s doing if they were to ask. I think I might let my family know in advance that it’s okay to ask him how he’s doing or feeling so they don’t avoid it on purpose and also give them the heads up that he doesn’t want it to be the focus of conversation (which they wouldn’t want either, I’m sure).

I love this suggestion. I’ve had a few of his friends reach out to me since he’s been home and I wanted to encourage them to reach out to him directly and really like the way you put this. So simple, but for some reason, I struggled with how to word it.
He’s also planning to attend meetings there and is actually excited about being the out of towner. It’s amazing the things that get us excited these days.

Thank you so much for your kind response :heart: