Helping Your Loved One Seek Recovery in the New Year

Family sobriety in the New Year
Photo by vorDa/

It’s a new year and with that comes the hope that things can be better. The opportunity for a new start can be inspiration for growth, change and new ventures. It is something we have all experienced.

Many addicts have a yearning for positive change in the new year too, but it is unlikely they will voice it to friends and family. It might be too much to hope for, too difficult to attain and way too much to commit to. But it can be the perfect time to approach an addict with the commitment to make it a great year by offering your help to get your loved one into treatment for drug or alcohol addiction.

And if you know someone who is already in recovery, check-in and spread some hope and inspiration for the new year. Addiction recovery is not exactly a walk in the park and the holiday season can make life seem more challenging than usual.

New Year, Renewed Energy for Sobriety

Trying to help a loved one get clean is rarely a “new idea” for family and friends of addicts. Many families have tried to help, maybe several times. For the lucky ones, the timing and circumstances were right, and the addict entered treatment early in the game. Unfortunately, for too many families, attempts to get the addict into treatment did not work out as hoped for and the addiction problem persists. Each time the family has tried to get the addict into treatment and has failed, there is a feeling of deflation and a dwindling of hope. But hey, this is a New Year for all of us.

If there is someone in your life who is using drugs and alcohol, why not make it your New Year resolution to get your loved one help? Your newly found energy and dedication to the idea could be enough to convince the addict that there could not be a better time than right now to get clean. In his or her heart your loved one wants to get clean and now is a good time to get the addict to commit to a clean and happy life as a New Year resolution. Then help put the resolution into action by assisting your family member in finding a treatment center to go to as soon as possible.

2020 was one heck of a challenge for all of us, but more so for those who have the additional burden of drug and alcohol abuse. The new year, fortunately, holds potential, prospects and possibilities for anyone.

Getting Your Loved One Help

Interventionist is talking to addict teenager and his mum
Photo by Istockphoto/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

If your loved one is currently using drugs and alcohol, it is vital to know that the sooner you can get a substance abuser into a drug and alcohol rehab center, the better. Time is of the essence as any day could be drug abuser’s last.

It is unpleasant to think about but important to understand that addiction to drugs and alcohol can be fatal. Tens of thousands of people die from drug use each year in the U.S. alone and tens of thousands more die from alcohol use each year. During the holiday season tensions often run higher than usual. There is more partying and merrymaking, more alcohol consumption, more potentially stressful or emotional reminders and potentially more demands and obligations.

The combination of any of these factors can create a dangerous scenario with the potential for drug overdose or accidents from drunk driving.

There should be some effort every day to help a loved one get off drugs and alcohol. But during the holidays and in the New Year these events should be doubled as risk factors for substance abusers will likely increase during this time.

If Your Loved One is Already in Recovery…

If your loved one is in recovery and is working towards building more stability in that recovery, the holiday and New Year season can be a difficult time. Not only is the season a time when people are more likely to celebrate, drink and engage in general merrymaking, but the transition into the New Year can also be stressful.

There are strategies, thankfully, that recovering addicts and their families can employ to help keep a strong commitment to recovery during the holidays (or any time of year). Some of these include:

  • Plan activities. Instead of worrying about your loved one during the holiday season and in the weeks following, plan activities that you can do together. Ensure there is something on the schedule every day, something that encourages accountability. Try to partake in these activities as much as you can. Some activities might include walking, exercising, relaxing together or exploring nature. Do some research and you will find new adventures that are interesting to both of you.
  • Keep an alcohol-free environment. Even if your loved one's drug of choice was not alcohol, keep alcohol out of the home environment, and away from all activities. Removing alcohol from the environment will help reduce and remove any stress-based temptations.
  • Help create a safety net. Sit down with your loved one and help create a safety net of people that can be called if life gets stressful or if the recovering addict feels their resolve slipping. Examine the list to ensure it contains people who would be competent and effective at helping your loved one overcome an urge to relapse. Contact everyone on the list to make sure you have the consent of those individuals to be placed on this list.
  • Help put together a daily task list of healthy, pro-sobriety tasks. A healthy routine can be a recovering addict's best friend. Daily activities like healthy eating, getting exercise, making a list of things to be grateful for, talking to someone in the support circle, reading a motivational book, taking a night class, or working on a constructive hobby, all are daily activities that help support recovery.
  • Get your loved one involved in volunteer opportunities of their choosing. Giving back is often exactly what the recovering addicts need to help get an extra boost of morale in the first few weeks of the new year. Recovering addicts are often excellent candidates for helping others, as they can usually appreciate the value of good help.

As the new year kicks off, the thing to remember most (whether your loved one still needs to get into treatment or is already in recovery) is to be there for that loved one. Your help might be an encouragement to stop using drugs and alcohol and get into treatment or help in maintaining recovery and sobriety. Your support can be crucial in ensuring a safe, substance-free life for your loved one and peace for the family.

Reviewed by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, RAS, MCAP



After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.