Family Addiction and the Holidays

Having a loved one who is struggling with addiction is a challenge for any family. During the holiday season it can become even more stressful to cope with. While dealing with family addiction and the holidays can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. If the family plans ahead, the holidays can be a pleasurable time for all. It is best not to estrange an addict from their family during the holidays because it may cause them to become depressed and they may start to use more than usual. Keeping that person isolated from their family contributes to anxiety, loneliness, depression and despair. He or she should be included in the family festivities and their addiction should not be hidden, but out in the open. This will make it easier for everyone to interact with each other.

Things to Talk to your Family Members About

An addict recovering from substance abuse should tell their family if there are any things that might tempt them during the holiday. The family can then make sure to avoid having certain things in the presence of the addicted individual. The family would not want to make it more difficult for their loved one to stay sober and they wouldn’t enjoy watching them struggle with temptation. This should be spoken about before the family gatherings to ensure that the addict feels safe, loved and welcomed.

Helping the Person you Love

If an addict is still using, then the family might want to plan an intervention. The holidays are a good time for a collective intervention because everyone is together in the same place. An intervention should be planned ahead of time to avoid failure, and a primary spokesman should be chosen. The spokesman should be someone that the addict respects and listens to. Anyone who might sabotage the intervention should be excluded. The family should let the addict know about their concerns for the addict’s safety and health. They should encourage the addict to get the help that they need. Once they have convinced the addict to get help, the family can assist the addict in enrolling in rehab as an inpatient or outpatient, whatever works best under the circumstances. Interventions are a great tool to use to urge the addict to get help and recover from their addiction.

There may be some bad feelings on the part of some family members from past transgressions that the addict may have committed. These issues should be dealt with on a personal level before the family comes together for the holidays. The holiday get-together is not the time to dig up past resentments. If anyone feels anger, shame or guilt because of an addiction in the family, they should resolve it beforehand. Addiction should be treated like any other illness and the addict should not be traumatized emotionally because of it.

Things to Avoid

If alcohol will be present at the festivities, make sure that non-alcoholic beverages are also available. People who do drink should be mindful of relapse prevention and not entice the recovering addict. Offer your loved one something that is safe to drink and lead them away from anyone who is over-indulging.

Don’t put any undue stress on the addict to meet unrealistic expectations. They are doing the best that they can while struggling with physical, psychological and emotional issues. Addiction takes a toll on the physical body and depletes it of nutrition, which can eventually cause illness. Alcohol and drugs cause many adverse effects on the physical body and their use may have already damaged cells. The body needs to be properly nourished and hydrated for cell repair to take place. Addiction also affects the brain physically and psychologically, and this area also needs to heal. Emotionally, an addict struggles with many issues that can be resolved over time with the proper counseling, love and support.

Be patient with your loved one and help them as they travel the road of recovery and wellness. Together, you can enjoy a wonderful holiday and build many new and happy memories.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.