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Make Holiday Celebrations Festive for All

Gatherings with family and friends can be one of the highlights of the season. Holiday parties might present challenges for guests in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.A cupcake sitting on a plate. Both are decorated for Christmas.

Create a welcoming and safe environment for all your guests. These tips will help express empathy and understanding so people in recovery can feel at home:

  • Keep it private—If you’re worried the alcohol you plan to serve will cause concerns, ask in private what you can do to help.
  • Avoid labels—Labels can reinforce the shame and judgement someone in recovery might feel. When you change your language, you can help a person in recovery feel more supported and valued.
  • Be supportive—Ask how they’re doing. Their recovery shouldn’t always be topic of conversation. Let them know that you’re happy to see them. Remind them they can count on your support if they need help.
  • Offer an exit—The stress of temptation may become overwhelming. Give grace and permission. They might need a break from activities. If necessary, offer to drive them home.

Here are some general tips for you and your other guests:

  • Make people in recovery feel included.
  • Not all addictions are the same. Some people struggle with binge drinking. Others self-medicate.
  • At any gathering, make sure you store prescription medications safely and lock up firearms.

Make a difference in the life of your family members and friends in recovery—this holiday season and for years to come. Give the gift support.

Do you struggle with opioid addiction or know someone who does? Contact our Treatment Services program at


  • Washington Recovery Help Line—Find help 24 hours a day for substance abuse, problem gambling, and mental health.
  • Stop Opioid Abuse—Get information opioid abuse, how to prevent it, and how to support people in recovery.
  • South Sound 211—United Way’s free service that connects you with medical, housing, food, and employment services.

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