As the holiday rush stretches across communities, parents across Colorado are faced with increased pressure to give their children a festive holiday experience. Holiday stressors can include increasingly busy schedules, social expectations to buy gifts and holiday decorations, and an increase in time spent with extended families. While parenting during the holidays can be rewarding, this time of year can also be particularly overwhelming for parents in recovery, who must balance all of this while managing triggers and maintaining their progress. Below are a few suggestions to help those in recovery get through the rest of the year:

·      Take care of yourself. First and foremost, parents in recovery should strive to ensure that they’re taking care of their basic needs, including getting enough rest and eating regularly.

·      Limit stressful environments. If a party or other social gathering becomes overly stressful, don’t hesitate to do what’s best for yourself and leave early. Though there’s pressure during the holidays to stay at events until late into the evening, if you feel uncomfortable (especially if that discomfort has to do with substances) you should always do what’s best for yourself. 

·      Maintain your recovery activities. Even though the holidays are busy for many families, make sure that you continue your recovery maintenance. Continue to attend your support group, if you are part of one. Find a friend or family member who’s willing to be there if you need someone to talk to.

·      Ask for help. If you feel like you’re struggling, find a local family resource center or call 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373) or 1-866-LAS-FAMILIAS (527-3264) for free, confidential help finding drug treatment, parenting support, medical care, social and family service agencies, and many other resources.

If you know someone in recovery, keep in mind that offering support is especially important during this time of year. Whether it’s a family member asking if there’s anything they can do to help, or a facilitated support group, those maintaining recovery need to build resilience and safeguard against the type of holiday stress, emotions, and experiences that can be triggering. It can also be a very lonely time for those in recovery who don’t have supportive social connections, so engaging in the holiday spirit and reaching out to someone in your community can make a big difference in their life–and yours!

To support families in recovery in Colorado, Illuminate is proud to partner with the Recovery Ready Workgroup. This group was established following a town hall calling for communities and professionals to be sure our state supports individuals at all stages of recovery. Illuminate Colorado hosts a variety of parent support groups as part of its work to assure communities are recovery ready. Groups are free to attend, completely confidential, and childcare is available. For information about how you can join or start a support group for parents in your area, please visit or contact Anna Neal at

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