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How to Celebrate the Holidays if They Are Sober or Not
I never felt lonelier or more of a mess than at holidays while loving someone suffering from addiction. I have kept it super simple today with one helpful trick to try.
I really appreciate you sharing our safe and confidential community with your friends and family. It’s been an honor writing about this subject for over a decade - thank you for continuing to trust me.
It’s almost 4th of July. And for most of us who live in America, that means loving someone who has extra excuses to drink or partake in addiction.
While everyone around is dressed in red, white, and blue, wearing big smiles and having a great time - we are counting the hours until this “celebration” is over.
Our secret? Holidays are usually heartbreakingly disappointing.
We compare ourselves to all the “normal” families and think - where did we go wrong? Why can’t we have a fun time without fighting or embarrassment over their addiction?
It’s lonely loving someone struggling with addiction.
So what do we do?
Do we continue to feel so out of control that our insides feel like they’re trying to claw out of our bodies?
Do we stay paralyzed with fear, unable to have any fun?
Do we burn with resentment because loving someone struggling with addiction makes life so difficult?
Are we just helpless victims of this disease?
Here's one simple trick you can do that will help you feel strong and steady during all the "celebrations."
Check your space.
If their addiction is causing you to feel bad - politely remove yourself from their space.
Imagine a giant bubble that surrounds them, and in order for you to maintain a healthy mindset, you must stay out of that giant bubble. Their bubble could take up the entire house, and you need to grab your keys and go. Or their bubble could take up just a single room.
Their bubble could be as large as the party you’ve been invited to - and again, you may need to leave the party. Or maybe their bubble is just among the people they are hanging out with at the party, and you can wander into the next room.
Your job is to know how big their bubble is and dodge it. If you put yourself in their space - and your mood negatively shifts - it means you are taking on their presence. And that's exactly when you need to detach from their bubble. Find your own peaceful space. Create your own safe bubble. (Could I use the word “bubble” one more time??)
Why not give it a try? Take inventory when you start to feel bad. And move into a new physical space. Then, in 30 - 60 minutes, see how you feel.
Physical space away from your loved one: a simple and effective tool for loving someone suffering from addiction.
P.S. If you’re out and about celebrating this holiday - I do feel the need to state the obvious and say: please, please don't get in the car with them if they are under the influence. Your safety comes first. Always. Uber or Lyft. Call an old-fashioned yellow taxi or ask a friend or family member to drive you. They might get upset, but your personal safety is THE most important priority.
Are you worried about their drinking, drug use, or other addictions over the next few days? Write your question - there are some super smart people in this community who would love to help or offer advice in the comments section.