In stores and in the streets the atmosphere is palpable and there is no escape from it. It is that time of year again – the magical time of Christmas.
Unfortunately, Christmas is not a merry time of year for everyone. In households where addiction is a factor, the holiday season is intense and filled with emotional highs and lows.
It is often the addict who directs the mood of the whole season. If it is going well and he/she is on the road to sobriety, Christmas-time can be a time of careful optimism for everyone involved.
But, if the addict is off the wagon, Christmas can be one long bender for the addict and heartache for family members.
Here is a list that might help you in the countdown to Christmas. Whether you are a parent, a spouse of a child, some truths may be found here that can help you through this time of year.
A list of truths
- Perhaps you could have done it differently
At the time, you made what you thought were the right decisions. Let the past stay in the past. Your actions and the type of parent or spouse you were did not create the addiction. The addict chose this himself.
- You can’t fix it
Only the addict can help himself to get clean and sober. Nothing you can do can change the situation. The addict must be ready to recover and make the decision himself.
- ‘Rock-bottom’ is very personal
Each person’s rock bottom is different. Rock bottom is the place where an addict decides ‘I cannot do this anymore. I want to change.’
You may think one overdose should be a rock bottom. But, it may take two or three overdoses for an addict to reach rock-bottom. You may think spending time in jail is rock-bottom, but for your loved one it might just be a temporary inconvenience.
- The addict can’t get clean ‘for you’
He/she loves you. But he is an addict. The two statements are separate. The addict must be willing to change – for himself, and no one else.
In the grips of addiction, an addict will lie, steal and hurt you. It’s the addiction, not the person.
- Consequences are necessary
The addict has to clean up his own mess. They must learn by trial and error that you will not be protecting them anymore. Bailing someone out of trouble is enabling them to continue their addiction. Let him learn the lessons he must learn.
- Protect your home, health, and assets
It is ok to tell an addict that he/she cannot use your car or that you are not going to give money anymore. It is ok to tell them that you won’t support their lifestyle anymore or that he/she is not welcome in your home when they are still actively using their substance.
- There is always hope
Your family member’s rock bottom might be just around the corner. Never give up hope and keep on loving him/her even though he/she might be pushing you away.
You can do something more
This Christmas, join us here at Largest Heart to make a difference in the spirit of the season. Our aim is to help spread love, hope, and understanding of addiction (and suicide).
There are many households that may be in the same boat as you. Or, perhaps you are reading here and the whole concept of addiction is alien to you.
You can help us to make a difference by donating today. Make us one of your projects in 2019. Together, we can do better and support each other.