Surviving Christmas and the Holiday Season
This e-zine provides monthly tips and techniques to stop being addicted and help yourself or someone you love, live a more powerful life.
“I'm not as think as you drunk I am.”
Surviving Christmas and any family holiday can be difficult in the best of times, but if you’re a child of an alcoholic or addiction is in your family it can be a nightmare.
Whether you have an addiction or you’re a victim of an addict, these tips will help when the office parties, house parties, dinners and toasts have the potential of ruining the 'real spirit' of the season.
This month: Surviving Christmas and the Holiday Season
Boundaries: Set strong boundaries. Family members of alcoholic/addicts, as well as the person in recovery must have strong boundaries, regarding what they need. You should not be threatened by someone’s dysfunction. Family members must tell all the guests that no substance abuse will be tolerated. If this is not done,
you’re enabling substance abuse to continue.
For the alcoholic/addict, boundaries must be just as strong. If you feel that there will be too much pressure at the event, don’t go.
Show support: Don’t ignore an addiction problem as if it’s the ‘elephant in the room’. It’s okay to ask the person in recovery how they feel being around others who are drinking or anything else for that matter. Don’t pretend that the problem doesn’t exist.
Alternatives: Always have a plan B. Alternative plans make you less vulnerable, if you’re having a problem. For example, if someone gets drunk or high at a Christmas party, plan B. can help you and your children handle it without anger and embarrassment. And if you are a
child of an alcoholic or addict
you are particularly sensitive to family dysfunction – so plan B is imperative.
Support groups: if you’re a member of Al-Anon, you may need to reach out at the event. Take phone numbers. The same applies to the person in recovery. Phone numbers can be life-lines. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Talking to people who understand will relinquish your stress.
A friend: If you feel uncomfortable about going to the event in the first place, ask if you can bring a friend. A friend can act as a buffer in difficult social situations.
Time Strategies: Spend less time at the party. Arrive late and leave earlier if necessary.
Self-care: When we’re stressed, we usually don’t take care of ourselves last. Make sure to eat well, exercise, meditate and do whatever it takes to stay calm and relax before the event. This seems like a no-brainer, but when we're under stress, we take care of everything else but ourselves.
Support Network:Don’t be shy. Talk about your concerns. If you’re in a support group, get in touch with a member before you leave and give them feedback when you return. Using the support of other will prevent you from obsessing about it and building anxiety. Talking relieves pressure.
Giving: When we celebrate holidays, giving is a wonderful way to celebrate and give back. This does not have to be expensive. You can give your time to help others, give home-made food etc. Find a personal way to get into the holiday spirit.
If previous holidays have gotten you down, there’s no reason to think that this year will be different – not so.
The people and the event can stay the same, but
changing your attitude
and behavior will make all the difference in the world.
Q & A
I recently got seriously beaten by my ex boyfriend. He is on remand waiting to go to go to court.
Every time something stresses him out, he gets depressed and starts drinking. He has lost access to his children and gone to jail a few times because he becomes a violent drunk.
I don't want to get back with this man, but I believe he can be rehabilitated. I believe that he has been over-looked by the system and he has not received any therapy.
I am a Christian and have forgiven him for what he did to me, but I feel sorry for him. I heard that he has been having a difficult time in jail and two wrongs don’t make a right. My ex has not tried to contact me, but I honestly believe he was not in control of his mind when he attacked me. I am continuing to press charges for the sake of my children, who saw my face after the assault. These children are not his, and since I only saw him when they were with their father, they didn’t know that he was my boyfriend. They’re petrified.
It wasn’t the first time he beat me, so I know that I’m doing the right thing by charging him, but I still feel guilty. Because of me, he lost his job, lost his apartment, lost his children and who knows if he’ll ever get back on his feet. How can I relieve my guilt?
Hopefully your ex-boyfriend will be rehabilitated in prison, however for the sake of your children, you have to get on with your life.
Although your ex physically abused you under the influence of alcohol, alcohol is no excuse. You can forgive him and feel sorry for the situation that he is in right now, however you are not responsible for it. This man is
and he committed a criminal offense.
As part of the rehabilitation process, he has to take responsibility for his actions. He must understand that alcohol (not you) destroyed his life and he must pay the consequences.
Although the reality of going to jail can be a harsh one, I've heard it said many times that ‘going to prison was the wake-up call’ that was necessary to live a sober life. I hope your ex will have that same reality check. In the mean time you have to create a positive environment for yourself and your kids.
You are a victim of this crime, and he must take responsibility for his actions -- keeping this in mind will help absolve your guilt.
All the best,
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Wishing you all a peaceful holiday and thank you for all your comments and suggestions. I read all of them, so keep them coming :)
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