Keeping those in addiction recovery in mind during holidays

December 23, 2014


For some, eggnog, buttered rum and other alcohol-spiked drinks are as much a part of the holidays as presents under the tree.

But what happens when there’s a family member or guest who is in addiction recovery?

The holidays can be stressful for just about everyone, but they can be especially tough for people in recovery and their families, said Vicki Nejtek, PhD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine.

But there are ways to reduce the stress of Christmas festivities and make the holiday celebrations more enjoyable for everyone. Here are some evidence-based suggestions from Dr. Nejtek:  

  • Pay attention to food and beverage choices. You wouldn’t invite people with diabetes over and serve only sugary treats. Make sure you have non-alcoholic choices available at parties.
  • Ask those in recovery how they feel about being around others who may drink alcohol at your celebration. Don’t stick your head in the sand and pretend it’s not an issue. Have a private conversation with the person, well in advance of any gatherings.
  • Respect the person’s needs.  If they believe that seeing others drinking will be detrimental to their recovery, then be understanding about their decision not to attend. Try to make arrangements to celebrate with them in a smaller group of guests in a setting where addictive substances won’t be used.
  • Don’t be a watchdog. Pressuring someone to stay sober or watching them every minute isn’t helpful. 
  • Acknowledge the individual’s success.  Tell them how proud you are that they have maintained their sobriety.  
  • Don’t dwell on Christmases past.  Focus instead on what a joy the person is to be around now.
default photo
Blood drive on campus Today

By Eric Parker Some complicated surgeries were postponed recently in and around Tarrant County because of a platelet shortage. Platelets are blood cells that are crucial to wound healing, and they have a shelf life of only a few days. That’s one of many reasons a constant supply of blood don...Read more

Sep 20, 2018

Dr Walters Life Saving Medicine
Lifesaving measure for opioid overdose available to the public without prescription

By Sally Crocker When the U.S. Surgeon General published a recent health advisory– the first such alert in the last decade – asking for the public’s assistance in tackling the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, Dr. Scott Walters from the UNTHSC School of Public Health made plans to do his ...Read more

Sep 19, 2018

Mean Fc
For medical students, a sideline view of treating football injuries

By Alex Branch   University of North Texas quarterback Mason Fine faked a handoff and threw a perfect 60-yard touchdown pass to a streaking receiver, and the Mean Green sideline erupted. Players leaped off the bench, coaches pumped their fists and the cheerleaders hugged. Everyone inst...Read more

Sep 18, 2018

Liu Fc
PT on leading edge of Parkinson’s care

By Alex Branch   A UNT Health Science Center professor is preparing physical students to provide innovative care that can improve the quality of life for the nearly 1 million Americans expected to have Parkinson’s disease by 2020. Howe Liu, PT, PhD, Professor of Physical Therapy, pa...Read more

Sep 17, 2018