Guest Post By Jennifer Scott
Meet Jennifer, and learn more about her at SpiritFinder.org
Hosting holiday gatherings can be stressful for anyone, but planning a party for family might be particularly anxiety inducing for those in addiction recovery.
But it is possible to organize an event that’s stress free for family members -- including you. If you have a family holiday party in the works, try these tips to keep the focus on fun (for more sober party tips, read on here).
Prepare, but don’t try to create a picture-perfect party
Make as much of the food as possible in advance and even go as far as prepping the coffee and teapot so you’ve got them set to start brewing when people start surfing toward sweets.
Selecting recipes that don’t require much last-minute minding will reduce your stress levels and free you up to keep conversation flowing. And, in a worst-case scenario, you might have time to run to the store for a replacement pumpkin pie.
Don’t stress about mismatched linens, silverware and serving dishes.
If you don’t have holiday-themed napkins and glasses, use it as an opportunity to create an eclectic tablescape without breaking the bank. For instance, an article published in Forbes suggests using sewing shears to trim inexpensive fabric into napkins, re-purposing glass jars for beverages, candles, flowers, and cutlery, and using fresh pine cones and boughs to craft a centerpiece.
Set yourself up for success
Make time during the party-planning process to participate in recovery-related activities.
Set aside time for calls to your counselor or sponsor or to attend a peer-support meeting. Identify potential problem situations that might come up during the holidays and pen a plan to handle them. You might even want to rehearse responses to family members who have intrusive or insensitive questions about your recovery.
Offer guests a festive beverage as soon as they walk through the door. Consider combining fruit juice with sparkling water or a homemade soda infused with a holiday-inspired simple syrup.
Serving something non-alcoholic can put you on the right path. It also offers an exciting option for underage family members, guests who might be expecting, designated drivers, and those who don’t drink.
Ask for help
If you are feeling overwhelmed with party planning responsibilities, reach out to supportive family members to request a helping hand. Or, if you start the planning process far enough in advance, work as a team to orchestrate the event. You can also make the division of labor festive and fun by doing a lot of the preparation together.
Before or during the event itself, make clear statements about things that are important to you. For example, if you would like to light a candle for a lost loved one, make it a priority at some point during the party. Or if you’d prefer to sit down to a meal without watching the football game, don’t be afraid to say so.
Plan party events and your own after party
Put together some fun, festive activities that don’t revolve around drinking or any potential relapse triggers.
For instance, provide supplies for attendees to create handmade holiday cards. You can also organize a scavenger hunt, a friendly family card tournament, or a rousing round of name that tune with holiday songs dominating the playlist.
If you’re from a family full of performers, consider setting up a den dance party or karaoke lounge, suggests the Party.0 website.
Think about asking a trusted friend or family member to help you with post-party cleanup or simply leave some dirty dishes behind and treat them to a holiday movie or a cup of cocoa in a quiet coffee shop.
You might also want to schedule a call with someone who supports your recovery and talk through the events of your family fete.
Finally, regardless of whether your recovery is common knowledge or a little-known fact, consider hosting a successful, stress-free family holiday party a celebration of your sobriety, health, and happiness.
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