It can be depressing as we get older and realize that the very family we were born into, may no longer be the family that nurtures us, supports us, or is part of our 'family' holiday celebrations. Alcoholism is a family disease, it often leaves families in shambles, and becomes an unsafe environment for people in the family system trying to recover. It is important to not only address these issues, but prepare for them to keep you, or your addicted family member safe.
Often families with stress, arguing parents, family members with illness, difficult children, addiction, financial woes and even greater challenges find this all hard. This year, many families found stress intensified by the election process that brought public discourse to an all time low for nastiness and vulgarity in their lifetimes, and left neighbors, friends and families struggling to cope with the impact of such intense disagreements. With so much of this being acted out over unsociable social media exchanges, making it hard to miss.
With Thanksgiving behind us, and the holidays ahead, the heightened expectation that we should be more than kind and loving toward those around us. What do we do, and how do we have the family life we wish for? There are steps you can take starting today and into the coming weeks that could make it more positive for you, or the family member suffering from addiction, and if anything less stressful than last year!
One very positive, but also stressful example of this is a family member with an addiction who is newly clean and sober. It would be understandable if you were optimistic that now holidays are not to be dreaded. But to make sure this can go well, get your expectations in line with reality and take steps to be clear about what you can do to keep things positive, and supportive for them.
In a situation such as this, it would be suggested your family ensure that alcohol is not part of the celebration for anyone. Even those with addictions other than alcohol may find it helpful not to have drinking thrown in the mix. In many families, having everyone in the family sober may make for a more peaceful gathering. Perhaps an alternative choice, such as gathering for brunch with juice and coffee would make it easier to avoid the temptation of cocktails. Remember to stay close to your sober support over this holiday season, stay close to that recovery ‘family’ you have built. Make sure to reach out and share what emotions you have going on, lend a hand to someone else in need of help, and cherish all the blessings you do have in your life.