Christmas is a time to celebrate family, laughter, long talks and great food. Many of you are busy right now preparing for the days ahead. The pantry has been stalked with all your favourite foods. Presents are wrapped. Stockings are stuffed. Countless hours have been spent in the mall looking for that perfect gift. You’re making a list and checking it twice. You do all the right things, and go through the motions. But when you love someone struggling with addiction, Christmas can be an agonising experience. It’s like making holiday plans – while waiting for a hand grenade to explode.
Amidst the hustle and bustle one ear is always listening – waiting for the call – it can feel like you’re being pulled in every direction.
You might have difficulties sleeping, wondering if your addict will even appear over the holiday season. And if they do, will they be sober, or will they be high?
Should you buy them presents? Or will they just pawn 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? Or hungry?
Just thinking about your addict, makes you anxious. Christmas music is no longer festive, instead it’s torture. There is no ‘Holly Jolly’. You barely have the energy to work up a smile.
And what about alcohol? Should glasses ring out in good cheer, if you’re addict is newly sober?
Your thoughts are interrupted by a bang at the door. Your son/ daughter has just arrived with their child in tow. Like it or not, Christmas is on.
Your little grandchild enters the room prancing around you in her new pink tutu. She reaches for your hand. Excitement has turned her cheeks pink. Her eyes sparkle, big and wide as she whispers. ‘Grandma, only two more sleeps!’
Her excitement is contagious and for a minute, you forget.
From her point of view, Christmas is a wondrous experience, You join hands with her and waltz across the kitchen floor. Her tutu flouncing in the air. For a reason that defines logic this brings a tear to your eye and you smile.
We don’t abandon our addicted loved ones by making new and precious memories. Instead we honour them. We are saying, I love you, I’m here for you. If and when you come home, you will come home to a well adjusted, healthy family. One who waits with open arms. A family who has never given up hope, nor succumbed to your addiction. We won’t be bitter, miserable skeletons of the people we once were. We will not use your addiction as an excuse for our own unhealthy behaviours. Addiction will not rob the rest of us from enjoying our holidays.
Yes, addiction takes hostages, but only if you’re willing.
This Christmas make new and wonderful memories with your friends and family. Enjoy your time together, for it is precious and soon gone.
Don’t let addiction steal one more minute of your life. Give your worries to God, pray for your sick loved one and be good to yourself.
Have a wonderful holiday.
Merry Christmas everyone!