It’s that time of the year where you are gathered around the table, sharing what you are thankful for and enjoying a meal with your family and friends. Laughter, family, friends, peacefulness, and love are the focus. It is a blissful moment in time with family and friends as you take a few sips of your favorite wine or beer.

Unfortunately, not every person or family experiences these Thanksgiving moments. For many, Thanksgiving brings varying levels of stress, family tension, and holiday anxiety. This is especially true for families where one or more family members struggle with addiction or alcohol misuse. Manage these emotions and situations during the holidays with these helpful tips:

  • Family involvement starts before the holiday. Engage in family discussions about alcohol use, misuse, and addiction throughout the year. Discuss removing alcoholic beverages from your Thanksgiving table, family gatherings, or any other celebrations throughout the year.
  • Active and reflective listening can improve family communication. Show that you’re engaged in the conversation. Pay attention to and acknowledge the feelings expressed by your family member before communicating your own.
  • Mending family conflict can be scary at times, but addressing it in a respectful and positive way can result in a stronger, healthier family bond.
  • Initiate open communication with family and friends early and often to support growth.
  • Learn from past conflicts in order to identify triggers. This will decrease the likelihood of repeating the past.
  • Invest in and nurture family bonds consistently to support the emotional wellbeing of the family. Build family connections through positive activities.
  • Emotional awareness is the ability to identify the emotions you or others may be experiencing at any given time. It plays a key role in being able to empathize with others and communicate effectively.
  • Support one another. It is okay to disagree without resentment or conflict. Attempt to find common resolutions through active collaboration with one another.

For more information, please contact your local Substance Abuse Counseling Center (SACC). SACC offers a variety of prevention, intervention, and nonmedical counseling services that can promote individual and operational readiness of Marines, attached Sailors, and their families.