They say it's the most wonderful time of the year, but if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, it can be hard. According to the OxfordEagle.com, "This can be a particularly stressful time for families who are suffering from addiction. Instead of fretting over your dinner menu, you're fearing your loved one's behavior might get embarrassing, out-of-control or even violent."
The article advises adjusting your expectations as your first step. What does that mean, exactly? "Simplify your plans, and focus on the traditions and activities that truly hold the most meaning for you." Another step is keeping your home free of temptation. "Clean out both the liquor cabinet and the medicine cabinet before your loved one comes home for the holidays. We advise this step for families of people in early recovery from addiction, too."
Another step is not enabling the person with addiction or going through recovery. Set a bottom line. For instance, if you think they may show up under the influence make sure you tell them before that is not OK and don't feel obligated to tip-toe around the issue. Use wording that is direct and to the point. "This is an alcohol-free holiday. We would love to have you if you want to come under those circumstances. If not, we love you, and we'll see you another day." And know that in saying this you may spend the holiday without your loved one who is struggling, but you are also preserving your holiday for everyone else.
The article goes on to say: "Know that it's not your responsibility to keep your loved one sober. And know that their addiction is not your fault. Stay within what you have control of, and don't feel a burden to engineer their recovery." And last but not least, know you aren't alone. This isn't only happening to you and your family. "Addiction impacts one in every three households in this country," the story reports. There are many out there undergoing the same thing as you and the person you love who is addicted.
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