The 4th of July is upon us – the apex of the summer holidays. And although we love the sun and water fun, we understand that families managing substance use disorders can experience heightened anxiety levels during this time. The sound of fireworks can trigger those with PTSD and anxiety. The coolers stocked with cold beer might bring back memories of boozy boat rides. And with the joy of gathering people you love together comes the worry when you’re new to recovery. Or if you are managing family members with active addictions. Or even tiptoeing around a newly recovering family member at the barbeque. It is joyful, however, to have help and support for your anxiety, and this is our gift to you – our readers!
Summer Holidays – Tips for Families in Recovery!
Our summer holiday gift to you is this anonymous statement entitled “Letting Go.” We share this statement with the family members of current patients at the first session of our family education series in the Sanford Family Program. And along with the poem, we want to offer specific tips for “letting go” as well.
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.
It is not to enable but to allow learning from natural consequences.
It 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.
It’s 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 and arranging the outcome but to allow others to affect their destinies.
Letting go is not to be protective; it’s to permit another to face reality.
When you let go you do not to deny but accept.
Letting go is not to nag, scold or argue; instead, to search out my shortcomings and correct them.
Letting go is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
It’s not criticizing and regulating anybody but trying to become what I dream I can be.
Letting go is not regretting the past but to grow and live for the future.
Letting go is to fear less and to live more.
Okay, Firecracker, here are our methods of “letting go” during the summer holidays (for the whole family):
- Take several deep, slow breaths.
- Remind yourself that you are not in control of your loved one’s addiction; you are only in control of yourself.
- Remind yourself that being in control means you can do something to help yourself feel better. And feeling better is your job at this moment. Keep breathing deeply and slowly. Remind yourself you are not alone with these unpleasant sensations and feelings.
- Come up with a list of things you could do at this moment (or very soon) that could help you soothe. Call or text a support person and express your anxiety
- Get to a support meeting at some time during the weekend, Perhaps add extra meetings through the holiday weekend and after the fireworks have long burnt out.
- Arrange to meet with a support person or sober pal during summer holidays, events and vacations!
- Print or write down the “Letting Go” statement and read it daily through the weekend.
- Re-read past articles about enabling, controlling and boundaries. The real answers to letting go are in these past articles and in the recommended books.
- Have fun and enjoy the people you love!
Happiest 4th of July from Sanford Behavioral Health and the Family Program!