Thanksgiving, A Time for Gratitude, by Anna

It’s Thanksgiving. Family, feasting, a four day weekend and football. A time to be thankful and filled with gratitude.

For those of you dealing with a loved one’s addiction, holidays may be none of those things or maybe a fraction of them. Holidays have become a dreaded occasion. The anxiety, stress, anguish, strife and chaos have become the norm.

Sometimes, we as families have expectations that don’t quite reflect reality. We hold onto memories of holidays past and dream of the perfect time when sitting down to a holiday meal was filled with joy and buzzing with happy voices as everyone interacted with one another. We envision a dreamy experience and fantasize about everyone being together – celebrating like something out of a Walton’s or Brady Bunch episode.

The reality is probably anything but dreamy. However, we don’t have to let addiction steal our Thanksgiving holiday glow.
Certainly decisions have to be made and there are many questions to answer.

Will they show? Will they be high? How will the family react?

Do we hide grandmas purse?

Do we serve alcohol?

Forbidding our loved one from attending the family holiday may bring about more shame, guilt and isolation to what they already feel. Setting boundaries, communicating ground rules and behavioral expectations could be an option for allowing the addict to participate in the family holiday. Set clear expectations and consequences for crossing the boundaries.

Take the focus off of the addict and focus on you. Focus on the other family you have around you, come out of the haze, and think about the things that deserve your gratitude. What the addict may do or how they may act is not a reflection on you.

Be present, enjoy the moments, make memories and be thankful for the blessings you do have in your lives.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Anna, A Mother’s Addiction Journey

Anna and Katie


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  1. JoAnn Reed November 23, 2017 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Anna and Katie, thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt experience and knowledge of living with and surviving in the throes of addiction. I authored “Nine Lives: The Heartbreak of Addiction”, a mother’s journey through the progression of my only son’s downhill battle of addiction. I can relate.

    Wishing you and your families a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

  2. DeeAnn November 23, 2017 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Thank you, Katie. I am grateful to you for writing your story which is also my story. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. There is much to be thankful for!

  3. Kathi November 23, 2017 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    I thought of all the things you mentioned this morning!
    It is great to be connected to a success story! I hope one day to also be in your shoes! So far this day isn’t my sons worst or best day! I woke up happy when he called me early because I knew he was alive even if it meant he might not of slept last night. My focus will be on me & my other family members & grateful to know there are people who have lived through this nightmare & know it can get better!
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

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