9 Tips for Recovering Families – Letting Go this Summer

family recovery letting go

As the 4th of July weekend comes to an end, many of us look forward to enjoying the summer holidays with sun, water fun, and gatherings with loved ones. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the unique challenges that recovering families managing substance use disorders may face during this time. The festivities, which often include fireworks and social gatherings with alcohol, can be particularly triggering for individuals dealing with PTSD, anxiety, or in recovery from addiction. For those in recovery, the familiar sound of fireworks may bring back distressing memories.


9 Tips for Recovering Families – Letting Go

The sight of coolers stocked with cold beer or the association of past boozy boat rides can also pose challenges. Additionally, the joy of gathering with loved ones may be accompanied by worries about managing family members with active addictions or supporting a newly recovering family member at the gathering. It’s important to recognize the significance of these challenges and to seek support. By acknowledging these concerns, we hope to offer help and understanding to our readers who may be navigating similar experiences. Remember, you are not alone, and seeking help and support is a courageous and valuable step in managing anxiety during this time.


Letting Go

Our summer holiday gift to you is this anonymous statement entitled “Letting Go.” We share this statement with the family members of current clients at the first session of our family education series in the Sanford Behavioral Health Family Program. And along with the poem, we want to offer nine specific tips for “letting go” as well.

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.

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. 

Here are our methods of “letting go” during the summer holidays (for all recovering families):

  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 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Attend a support meeting. Perhaps add extra meetings during the summer holidays and after the fireworks have long burned out.
  6. Arrange to meet with a support person or sober pal during summer holidays, events and vacations!
  7. Print or write down the “Letting Go” statement and read it daily through the week.
  8. Re-read past articles about enablingcontrolling and boundaries.  The real answers to letting go are in these past articles and in the recommended books.
  9. Have fun and enjoy the people you love!


If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, eating disorders, or co-occurring mental health conditions, don’t wait to change your life – click the link below to speak with an admissions specialist about our programs.




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