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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Handling the holidays with an addicted family member

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.Image via Wikipedia
Most family members of addicts and alcoholics go through a great deal of stress during the holidays. Whether or not to include an addicted family member to holiday functions, controlling unpredictable behaviors,worrying over missing money and valuables can all be stressful for the family. Some important planning can take place to help make these family occasions less stressful.

Set rules-
Make sure if you are hosting any holiday event that includes the presence of your alcoholic or addicted family member that they are well aware of your expectations and respect your rules. Let them know ahead of time what you will and will  not tolerate and what will happen should they disrespect your boundaries and rules.

Enlist help- If you have to have addicted/alcoholic members included in family holiday gatherings, enlist the help of other family members to help you. Family can be your eyes and ears to make sure the addict is adhering to your rules and respecting your boundaries. Have a ride home for them lined up with a sober family member if they don't respect the family.

Warn family members- Some friends and family members may not realize what is going on within the family and need to be clued in beforehand. Let them know that there could be some behavior and/or problems at the event and let them know what they can do to prepare should anything go awry.

Mean what you say- Be prepared to follow through on your consequences. Do not let your holidays be ruined by a family member struggling with alcoholism or addiction. If you have to call the authorities do so, and make sure your family members support you. If they can not support your consequences, do not allow them to be a part of the event. Having enablers sabotage your holidays is just unfair to everyone. 

Be alcohol free- Do yourself a favor, you're just asking for trouble by having mixed drinks, beer or alcohol present during the holidays when an addict or alcoholic is around. Don't think for one minute a drug user won't drink, especially if they don't have access to their substance of choice.
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