Navigating Family Political Talk During the Holidays

As we gather together for this holiday season, either virtually or in person depending on your family’s potential risk for COVID, it is inevitable that some will turn the conversation to politics given the ongoing drama surrounding the presidential election. This can easily lead to conflct and heated exchanges around the dinner table, which for those in early recovery means potentially triggering levels of stress. Here are some tips for defusing these potentially flammable situations so you can keep your stress levels down and enjoy time with family during the holidays.

First, oftentimes the best defense is a good offense. In the context of conversations with politically active or volatile family members, this translates to either setting some ground rules for conversations with you prior to the gathering or actively controlling the conversation to steer clear of any sensitive issues. This is an excellent opportunity for you to set boundaries with your family members now that you are practicing new, healthy behaviors in sobriety. Should anyone step over the line, be sure to enforce your boundaries politely but firmly, and disengage from the offending family member if necessary.

Some people are so impassioned by political issues that they cannot help but discuss them with anyone they encounter. If there is a member of your family member who is constantly compelled to express their political views to all those around them, you should absolutely preempt any such discussions from occurring in your presence, making it clear you are only interested in enjoying the company of family and the spirit of the holiday. If they are unwilling to agree to abstain from any political chats in your presence, you should evaulate whether or not it is still a good idea fo you to attend any functions where you will encounter them. While this would be an unfortunate outcome, hopefully the rest of your family will admonish this individual for their unwillingness to respect your boundaries given your new life in recovery. Those in your family who do understand and respect your boundaries should be able to prevail on any holdouts, clearing the way for you to enjoy holiday gatherings with your loved ones.

The holidays should be a time to relax and bask in the warm glow of family and the spirit of the season. Sadly, we find ourselves in times of great strife as a nation, due in part to the ongoing pandemic but also due to the contentious presidential election which continues to be contested. As a result of this supercharged political climate, there may be some in your family bent on venting their political opinions to all those in attendance. It is important you take steps to mitigate this potential source of stress, anxiety, and conflict so you can safely enjoy your holiday gathering with family. At Evolutions, this is just one of a plethora of reasons why we offer family therapy as a component of each client’s treatment plan, so that healthy boundaries can be established in a controlled clinical setting. It may be uncomfortable to draw a line in the sand with your family, but your sobriety is worth the effort and these boundaries will help improve your relationships with your loved ones in the long run!


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit