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.
Anna, A Mother’s Addiction Journey