You can pick your support group, but you can’t pick your family. No truer words have ever been spoken. When getting into recovery, we find that although we have grown and changed, the rest of the world continues on as is. It can be challenging to connect with those who still party or hang out on Haight and Ashbury. Most of the time, we can kindly remove ourselves from situations that don’t agree with our recovery. However, challenging circumstances can arise when we find ourselves at family functions.

If you feel as though your recovery is being compromised, there isn’t a legitimate reason to have to muster through. Scoot outta there. Your recovery is one of the most important responsibilities you have. However, during those times where you know you’ll be okay but you just want to scream into a pillow briefly, here’s a few tools on how to survive a family function in recovery.

Take a walk

When you’re feeling like you may need a moment to ground yourself or not react poorly, get up and take a walk. Walking it out allows us to get centered and connected to our bodies, while syncing our breath to its natural state.

Call a friend

Call someone in recovery, allow others to support you through whatever you are feeling. I’d bet anyone you call has been through a similar situation and can give you wise words through their experience.

Drive separate

If you have an exit plan, you can rest assure that you are not tied down to any situation that makes you feel stuck. If you have to go early because everyone’s getting a little too sloppy, respect yourself and go.

Don’t forget your phone

Although I generally promote staying in the present moment, there are times where a few scrolls through puppy videos can help de-escalate your emotions.

Be entertained

After getting through the annoyance, we can find all of it fairly entertaining to some degree. A lot of us watch reality TV and think, “Wow my family could very easily be on a show like this.” Well, my friend, roll the tape and get the popcorn because entertainment usually isn’t free. Keep a light-hearted attitude and brush off anything that may be a trigger and just have fun.

Find someone there who isn’t on their worst behavior

Connect with someone there, whom you may not have connected with otherwise. You’d be surprised at how awesome people are when you are open to engaging. You can even hang out at the kid’s table doing puppet shows if that feels right!