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How to Save Christmas if You Love an Addict

Holidays and Addictions

The Internet abounds with articles and stories about how the holidays affect people who are struggling with addiction.  They offer hundreds of tips and advice for those individuals on how to get through the parties and get-togethers and stay sober.  But, what about the loved ones who are wondering how to navigate the festive season without causing the addict in their lives to feel uncomfortable?  Are there some tips on how to celebrate the holidays with an addict in the house? No doubt, holidays and addictions are not a good combination, but you can still enjoy the gatherings with these tips.

Don’t Cancel Christmas

Many families of addicts are tempted to isolate themselves from the Christmas festivities.  Some of these families are feeling shame, embarrassment, fear, or anger about the situation.  So, they choose to avoid complications by simply staying at home. It’s reasonable to be concerned about how your addicted loved one will behave in a group of people who are drinking.  But, part of the recovery process is learning to cope with trigger situations. Holidays and addictions can be stressful, but you don’t need to cancel your holiday plans.   A few changes may be all it takes to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Try Some Alternatives

There are a few alternatives for celebrating the holidays without causing your addicted loved one more stress.  If you are hosting a holiday gathering in your home, you have the option of requesting that no alcohol be served.  This request may seem over the top, especially if your friends and family are accustomed to heavy drinking at your parties.  But, a sober party is not impossible. Millions of people socialize without alcohol and have a great time. 

If you have a recovering addict in your family, the alcohol-free idea is a great way to show that you respect their hard work in overcoming their addiction.  Your support and understanding can go a long way in keeping your loved one on track.

Set Boundaries

If the addict in your family is still using, you may be tempted to exclude him or her from your gathering.  But, according to addiction treatment specialists, this plan could backfire. If you exclude the loved one it may cause more feelings of estrangement, shame, and isolation that the person is experiencing already, driving them further into substance abuse.

Of course, you must consider the needs and safety of other family members.  If you choose to invite the addict to your event, you can set firm ground rules of behavior.  If the rules are broken, you must follow through with the consequences you established.

Don’t Go It Alone

Dealing with an addict in the family is difficult even at the best of times.  It’s important for you and your family to know that you are not alone. You can find local support groups for families of addicts that can help you stay focused and find strength.  Your loved one needs to feel that someone cares and will be there for them when things get tough. But, you also need a source of compassion and support yourself. If you aren’t at your best, you can’t be much help to your loved one.  So, find a group you feel is right for your needs and attend regularly to ensure that you get the most from the meetings.

Holidays and Addictions Don’t Have to Cause Disaster

Holidays and addictions are tough, but with some advance planning and a strong support structure, you and your loved one can navigate the ups and downs together.

If you need information about addiction treatment programs for your loved one, please contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today.  One of our experts will help you choose the best recovery plan available today.

Resources:

psychologytoday.com – Addiction During the Holidays

 

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