The Christmas holiday can be stressful. Sometimes it is good stress in that we get excited thinking about getting the right gift for someone we love, have fun weaving through stores to search for it, and then getting home to wrap and place it under the tree. Planning meals for many people, shopping, cooking, cleaning up can be stressful but usually that comes with the intention of pleasing and having a wonderful nourishing meal together with warm memories.
But for a good chunk of families in this country, Christmas and New Year's can be times of negative stress. It brings worry about how family connections or the lack of them will play out. People worry about those with addiction issues and if they will be able to manage through another connection while someone they love is in the middle of using. It doesn't quite matter what the addictive substance is. Those addicted to anything cause distress, anger, fear, worry, and sometimes contribute to violence during times when most people want happy and connecting times. They want warm and touching memories, not those that rip the soul apart.
Addiction is a soul illness. Those suffering with addictions, and yes, they suffer too, always have something in their lives they don't want to face. We all experience trauma, disappointment, loss, grief, anger but not everyone becomes addictive over them. Those that do, clearly need help.
Those who are in early recovery often avoid going back to families where addictions are used by other family members in order not to threaten their sobriety. I encourage them to do so when they have to protect the hard work that goes into facing the pain in their lives while remaining substance free.
This is not an easy time for any family where addiction is an issue.
If matters get out of control with someone using, leave the situation.
If you are the one trying to be sober and matters get too stressful, leave the situation.
It doesn't matter what side you are on, I wish you the courage to take care of yourself. Without doing that, there is no chance of surviving the holiday season with any opportunity to change the matter from distress to peace.