When your loved one has a drinking or drug problem, the holidays can be difficult. Watching a loved one self-destruct makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. An addict may choose to forgo gatherings with family or friends, leaving those he cares about hurt or angry. The person with the addiction may attend parties, though their addiction is painfully obvious to those around them.
If someone you care about is using drugs or alcohol, it can be easy to focus on the negative. The holiday season is stressful for everyone. It’s easy to forget that everyone is feeling that stress, the addict included. Because of this stress, drug and alcohol use commonly increases around the holidays.
A family member with an addiction likely realizes how the addiction impacts your life and feels guilty about it, especially during the holidays. The guilt, of course, leads them to drink or use more to numb the pain.
How you can Help your Loved One, And Yourself
Be prepared ahead of time to deal with the likelihood of this increased drug use. Take care of your own mental and physical health. Then, think about how you will encourage healthy behavior in those around you.
Keep the attention off of alcohol when planning holiday gatherings. Make sure there are activities, sports or conversation to keep everyone busy in a healthy way. Keep finger foods handy for snacking. Sweets may take the edge off of a craving for some people.
If your family member is newly in recovery, encourage them to stay in touch with a support system from the alcohol or drug detox facility they attended. Staff at substance abuse treatment facilities are familiar with the stresses holidays can place upon the newly sober and will have coping strategies available for both you and your loved one.
Above all, take care of yourself. Get enough sleep and eat right. Spend time with supportive people. Being tired, angry or stressed-out is bad for your health and will not solve any addiction problems present in family members.