Can You Create Your Own Family This Holiday Season

Sometimes, for distinct reasons, our biological families become detached from our lives. Whether part of our control or not, this split in the dynamic of those we grew up around or were raised by can be painful – for many, the holiday season brings back sad feelings, especially if loved ones are missed but are not longer around. Whether you’re in recovery for mental illness or addiction, the holiday season is a special time to really hone in on your self-care. Eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, and treating yourself to new activities and people conducive to your recovery are excellent ways of showing yourself some love. This holiday season, it’s about creating your own family – one that uplifts you, supports you, and will be there for you when times get hard.

The following are some excellent tips for creating your own family this holiday season:

  • See what’s going on at your treatment center. Do they have an event that you can attend to meet others in recovery who may not have family? Talk to a leader in your program to learn more about holiday opportunities.
  • Host your own get together. Invite those you’ve met in your program to get to know them better and celebrate. After all – when it comes to recovery, you’re all in this together.
  • Recognize that family can be one person – even a pet. Many people have this grand envision that families all over the world, of at least 10 people are more, are getting together in harmony. This isn’t true! In fact, more and more people are creating their own families – even if for a brief while it only includes your partner, your pet, or a good friend.
  • Celebrate your own progress. One of the most important people whom you need to get to know and love is… guessed it…. yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time alone this holiday season, playing some “feel-good” music and cooking up a beautiful holiday dinner that you can eat as leftovers for the next week. Many people do this, and it can even make you a stronger person in doing so.

A 2016 study published in the journal Substance Abuse highlighted the importance of social support in building one’s sense of community in recovery. Find people who want you to succeed, and who are trying to push forward in their recovery journeys as well. You never know who may become part of your family until you try.