Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
What Do You Get An Addict For Christmas?
By now you’ve spent hours preparing for the approaching holidays. You’ve talked with your co-workers and friends, and heard all about their plans for Christmas. You might find yourself feeling envious, or sad. While your friends talk excitedly about seeing their loved ones this holiday season, you wonder, if yours will even show up.
When your loved one is addicted, Christmas is unpredictable at best.
For many, the holiday season is just one long, agonizing experience. On the one hand, you’re making celebratory plans, and on the other, you’re waiting for the bomb to go off. Wrapping presents, you try to be festive, but you’re not feeling it. While your hands are busy with tape and wrapping paper, your mind is wondering, where is he or she? Are they okay? Are they hungry? Are they alive? You go through the motions, but you’re distracted. Waiting for the call is exhausting. Juggling festivities and family, it can feel like you’re being pulled in every direction.
But nights are the worst. You have troubles sleeping. Your mind races with what if? What if he/she shows up high? What if they don’t? Will they be dope sick? Will the rest of the family be mad at them? If they don’t come home, who will feed them Christmas dinner? Will they be alone? Who will look after them? Will they be cold? Hungry? And if they do come home, will the kids have to hide their money and presents? Will grandma have to hide her purse?
You feel sick with worry. All this stress is giving you a headache. Although you’d like nothing better than to be with your addicted loved one at this time of the year, the rest of your family may not feel the same. Chances are they’re fed up, and all they want for the holidays is peace.
You’d like to respect your families’ wishes, but there’s a part of you that’s not rational.
Your fear is greater than your need to accommodate the rest of your family. Then another thought occurs to you. What about presents? Should you buy any? What if they just get pawned? Just thinking about all the complications, leaves you feeling anxious. Christmas music is no longer festive, it’s torture. There is no ‘Holly Jolly’. By now, you barely have the energy to work up a smile.
As it there weren’t enough on your plate already, you eye the table you just dressed and gasp. Noting the wine glasses you wonder – should you be serving alcohol with dinner this year? Your thoughts are interrupted by a knock at the door. Your son/ daughter has just arrived with their child. Like it or not, Christmas is on.
Your family gathers in the doorway. A round of hugs is exchanged. Your grandchild runs into the room. She prances around you in her new pink tutu. Her little hand reaches for yours. Excitement turns her chubby cheeks, pink. Her big eyes sparkle, and go wide, as she whispers. ‘Grandma, only one more sleep!’
Her excitement is contagious and for a minute, you forget. From her point of view, Christmas is a wondrous and magical experience. You clasp hands and together, waltz across the kitchen floor. Her tutu flounces in the air as you dance. For a reason that defines logic, this brings a tear to your eye.
You begin to understand. We don’t abandon our addicted loved ones by making new and precious memories. Instead, we honor them. We are saying, I love you. I’m here for you. If and when you come home to us, you’ll be coming home to a healthy family. We’ll wait for you, with open arms. We will not become bitter, or miserable skeletons, of the people we once were. We won’t use your addiction, as an excuse for our own, unhealthy behaviors. Your addiction will not rob the rest of us, from enjoying our holidays. Our promise to you: We will not give up hope, nor succumb, to your addiction.
Addiction takes hostages, but only, if you’re willing.
Addicted individuals aren’t the only ones who need to take extra precautions this holiday season, their family members do too. Take time for you. Delegate some of the workload. Enjoy all your family members. Make a God box. When you find yourself stressing out over the addict in your family, write all your fears down on a piece of paper and then put the paper, into the box. Let God handle all your problems, even, if only over Christmas.
This year, give your addicted loved one the best gift of all. Give them the gift, of a healthy you.
Tis the time to make new and wonderful memories with friends and family. Enjoy your precious moments together. Don’t let addiction steal one more minute. Keep the faith, pray for your addict, and please, look after yourself. If you want to talk, or have questions, feel free to call the number below.
Merry Christmas everyone!
If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 1-888-614-2379.