By Sandy Baker
The Holidays & Addiction
Being worried about a loved one using drugs or alcohol is a constant battle in the minds of loved ones. Should they say something? Will they drive away their spouse, friend, child, or parent if they do say something? The holidays amplify this experience.
Some families may say, “This isn’t the time to talk about those things.” Others may focus on waiting until after the holidays so as to not “ruin” the special day.
Yet, every day, every dose of alcohol or drugs puts your loved one’s health further at risk. Sometimes, just one more dose could lead to an overdose. In addition, addictive behavior or obvious signs of use when family is all together during the holidays can make it hard to hide what’s really happening.
That’s why the holidays are a good time to talk about addiction to your loved one. Often, with family around, it’s the best time to get them into treatment. You may not want your loved one to miss a holiday dinner, but they could miss many more if something isn’t done soon.
The Benefits of Seeking Drug & Alcohol Treatment During the Holidays
Consider a few more reasons why you shouldn’t wait any longer to support your loved one.
#1: Alleviate the Painful Holiday Dinner Fight
This year, instead of talking about how much someone is drinking or engaging in a verbal war with family over the holiday dinner table, get a person into treatment. The dream of a family dinner with everyone talking and smiling isn’t realistic for many people. Rather, hateful or sarcastic comments, complaints, and blame tend to take place when addiction is involved.
For a person with an addiction, a high-stress situation doesn’t just make them uncomfortable; it may push them towards using more often or in higher doses. Being around people who may encourage drinking and drug use adds another layer of frustration and danger, especially if children are in the home. Getting an addicted loved one into treatment helps alleviate their own pain and the family’s pain.
#2: A Family Conversation May Be Easier During the Holidays
The holidays allow more time for conversations. Perhaps this year, the discussion is about that loved one who is using heavily and needs help.
It’s often the case that a person wants to get treatment or knows they need it, but they don’t know how to begin, feel hopeless, or lack motivation. Having a few close family members talk to them about what to expect and how to feel could be beneficial. Tell your loved one:
- Where they can get into treatment (be sure to call a treatment center beforehand)
- What treatment will be like
- Why you believe they need this type of care
- How you will support them through treatment
- What boundaries you will put in place if they don’t seek out help now
Make it easier for a person to say yes to getting help. It may be one of the best gifts you give this holiday season.
#3: Treatment Programs Are Available Now
The holidays are a difficult time for many people with addiction. For those with addiction that’s fueled by past trauma, the holidays can trigger numerous complications. The sooner your loved one steps into treatment, the better their ability to work through this pain and overcome addiction’s tight grip.
Treatment during the holidays is just as it is at any other time. Treatment may involve drug detox, residential treatment programs, and outpatient treatment. It’s always individualized to meet a person’s specific needs. For some, it’s easier to get time off of work or school to get into treatment during the holidays.
Most importantly, addiction treatment during the holidays is safe. A person in treatment is protected from the risk of using. Their medical needs are being met. They are able to work through painful trauma and get help with mental health needs. They still have the ability to see and interact with family, depending on their health.
What to Do Now as a Loved One
Recognize your loved one’s need for addiction treatment. Seek out a treatment center, like The Ranch at Dove Tree, to find out if your loved one is a good fit for the program. Then, set up some time with a couple of others who are close to your loved one to discuss the options. Be open-minded about what their needs may be.
Talk to your loved one about the treatment available. Discuss why now may be the best time to get help. Offer support and guidance throughout the process. Then, allow them to contact our counselors to start learning more about their options. Imagine what the future holds for your loved one in the coming years when they get this type of help now.