Letting Go in Family Recovery (Happy Thanksgiving!)

letting go Thanksgiving table


Once again, it’s the holiday season with a tradition of gathering and gift-giving to folks you care about! And Thanksgiving is the time we count our blessings and express gratitude – all part of the recovery process! At Sanford Behavioral Health, we care about our clients and  Excursions readers and have a little practical gift for you.


Gathering, Giving Thanks, and Letting Go

We understand families managing substance use disorders (SUD) during the holiday season can experience heightened anxiety levels and the joy of sharing gifts and gathering with people you love. We know it is not joyful to worry about family members with active addictions at holiday gatherings. Or the anxiety of dealing with a newly recovering family member at these events. It is joyful to have help and support for your anxiety; this is our gift to you – our readers!


Our gift to you is this anonymous statement entitled “Letting Go.”  We share this statement with family members of current clients at the first session of our family education series. And along with the information, we also want to offer specific methods of “letting go.” 


Letting Go

Letting go does not mean to stop caring; it means I can’t do it for someone else.

Letting go is not to cut myself off; it’s the realization I can’t control another.

Letting go is not to enable; but to allow learning from natural consequences.

Letting go is to admit powerlessness; which means the outcome is not in my hands.

Letting go is not to try to change or blame another; it’s to make the most of myself.

Letting go is not to care for; but to care about.

Letting go is not to fix; but to be supportive.

It’s not to judge; but to allow another to be a human being.

Letting go is not to be in the middle arranging the outcome; but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

Letting go is not to be protective; it’s to permit another to face reality.

Letting go is not to deny; but to accept.

Letting go is not to nag, scold or argue; but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

Letting go is not to adjust everything to my own desires; but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

Letting go is not to criticize and regulate anybody; but to try to become what I dream I can be.

Letting go is not to regret the past; but to grow and live for the future.

Letting go is to fear less and to live more. 



Sanford Family Program Methods of “Letting Go”

  1. Take several deep, slow breaths.
  2. Remind yourself that you are not in control of your loved one’s addiction, you are only in control of yourself.
  3. Remind yourself that being in control means you can do something to help yourself feel better…and that is your job.  Keep breathing deeply and slowly. Remind yourself you are not alone with these unpleasant sensations and feelings.
  4. Come up with a list of things you could do at this moment (or very soon) to help you soothe. Call or text a support person and express your anxiety

Get to a support meeting and add extra sessions during the holiday season!

Arrange to meet your support team for coffee or take a walk with someone you can talk to.

  1. Print or write down the “Letting Go” statement and read it daily through the holiday season.
  2. Re-read past articles about enabling, controlling, and boundaries.  The real answers to letting go are in these past articles and the recommended books. If you haven’t gotten your copy of these good reads, it is time to give yourself a gift and purchase one!
  3. Have fun and enjoy the people you love! 


Happiest of holiday seasons from Sanford’s Family Program.


844 with lake Michigan





Caroline (Carli) Parmelee-Noffsinger has 20 years clinical experience including: primary therapist and case manager for residential, IOP and outpatient therapy. Carli’s primary role at Sanford House is facilitating the Family Program. She is currently updating and revising the program design and content and hopes to improve upon an already successful approach to family intervention. In her free time, Carli spends time with her horse. She has been a horse lover and owner for most of her life and has facilitated equine therapy sessions. She says, “The back of a horse is good for the inside of a person.” You can reach Carli with questions about The Sanford House Family Program at cnoffsinger@sanfordhouse.com