Surviving The Holidays When Addiction Is In The Family

The Holidays are tough for everyone. When you add addiction to the everyday stress it can be overwhelming. The number one tip that I have is about expectations.  I don’t know about you but when the Holidays come I have this picture in my mind of how everything will turn out.  Before I realize it I have a picture in my mind that would be tough for a major motion picture to produce.

I just know the gift I bought my husband is going to make his year!  The gravy recipe I found is sure to get my mother in law to say ” Omg this is the best gravy!”  The Holiday cheer will definitely make my two aunts that hate each other at least hold their tongues.

When the big day arrives it never fails that someone else gives my husband that gift I was so excited about and my gravy was a big hit but my mother in law decides to start her first diet and gravy is not ok- but chocolate pie her sister brings will be ok.   The two aunts don’t make it into the house because my aunt Sara attacked her sister in the driveway and they both wound up in jail.

Now I am a mess because the reality of my Holiday doesn’t fit my expectations.  Sounds obvious but it’s a big issue this time of year.

When addiction in our lives, whether it’s us or our loved ones we just need to thank God we are here and able to enjoy the day.  We need to laugh at the crazy we call family and realize that these people are what’s important not some fantasy.


This year let’s just have realistic expectations that things are going to be messy.  That is the way life is.  If we get too caught up in the fantasy of the Holidays we put ourselves at risk of undue stress and our loved ones as well.  If you are the addict you don’t need that.  If your loved one is, then they definitely don’t need to feel pressure to be picture-perfect when they might be struggling to make it through the day.

So let’s operate from love this year.  If you have someone in your family that is using think about inviting them to Holiday events anyway.  Be prepared for them to say no or be late but that is ok.  The main thing is that they know they are loved.  Sometimes that is the best gift you can give.

Author: Recovery Reports


3 thoughts on “Surviving The Holidays When Addiction Is In The Family”

  1. t’s been seven years since my brother died. Ken Chapin
    I do not say pass away because it was not quite like that. He od’d off of methadone. (Yes this is possible especially if your thin, or have no heroin tolerance)
    My brother was a kind, and gentle soul. He was loving and cared about other people. The world lost a great person that day. Yes he had problems such as depression and substance abuse (as with everyone in my family) He was my best friend my confidant.
    I still remember that November 5th 2009 like a clear nightmare rewinding, jumbled memory in my brain.
    The effects still are clear in my family today. There is a division, no unity between us, another family torn apart by this terrible epidemic that I blame on the pharmaceutical companies.
    What does it matter who is at fault??? Well for one they should be paying for detoxes, rehabs, half way houses across the country.
    The victims of this crime are the families who must live after their loved one has died.
    The MEMORY is so clear, people say to get over it, How can I get over THIS?!?! It’s marked my life forever.
    That morning I woke up hungover annoyed with my brother for once again acting like a drunk asshole. The night before we had fought. When I saw him on the floor clutching his chest, I thought he was just drunk and ready to puke again, I asked him if he was okay. He responded to leave him the fuck alone or he would fucking kill me.
    So I left him there. Later on I came in the room and put a blanket on him because the room was cold and he was on the ground. It never crossed my mind to check his breathing, to look for any signs of an overdose.
    In the morning, I woke up, hungover and annoyed. I sent my boyfriend to go wake my brother as I got ready to go to work at a Pizza place. I hear him yelling ” There is something wrong with Ken!” I run into the room he is standing outside of it as he was to afraid to go in. There is my brother on the floor with vomit around him. There is a terrible smell in the room. I run over to him and push on him. “KEN WAKE UP!!!” He is cold and puffy. He is dead.
    Unable to believe that I pulled his ex-girlfriend from upstairs to the room. I watch as she in vain attempts to give him CPR. The world is spinning, I call 911, scream “MY BROTHER, He is on the floor he is not breathing!!”
    The memory switches than to me running around my house. Where are the EMTs!” What feels like an hour later which in reality is minutes they come rushing into the house. As soon as they check my brother they slow down. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING! Save my brother! NO! He can’t be dead! This can’t happen to us, you only see this shit in the movies!”
    A police man is trying to get me off the floor. “WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE! My brother is DEAD! He is fucking dead! It’s all my fault! I could have saved him! I should have known!” I call my boss scream into the answering machine “I can’t come to work my brother is dead!”
    My boyfriend leaves to go bring him the store key. Why the Fuck are you leaving me! Who gives a shit about the pizza place.
    I’m alone with a cop and my dead brother. I call my dad at work hysterically. I tell him Ken is dead. I hear him wail, a sound that still haunts me today. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Not my son!!!” I can hear him drop to the floor.
    The police tell me that I should not watch my brother get carried out on the stretcher that it might be traumatizing. TRAUMATIZING!?! My brother is dead what the fuck can be more traumatizing. I agree, I go upstairs. Ken gets carried out. Although I did not watch it I can still see his dead body being carried out of my house on a stretcher.
    I spend much of the day vomiting, projectile vomit. I get dizzy I feel like I’m dieing. I go to the ER and they give me Valium, a crutch that would get me in the end. But what are they supposed to do???
    Our family shatters in the face of Ken’s death and I don’t talk to my mother for 2 years. For the next seven I spend it trying to get back at the GOD, that I hate, that is not loving or kind. How could god do this to me. Never thinking that the devil had his hand in the deal.
    I do drugs to try to make the memory of that day disappear, it only get’s stronger. I lose my daughter, my family, my soul.
    Jail’s, institutions and death. I accomplish two of those frequently but why can’t I DIE!!
    I break every commandment except for murder, in a vain attempt to show up god. I only hurt myself and those around me.
    Now I sit here, not home as I live in a sober house and this is not home, alone. No one around. Everyone has someone to go to something to do, except for me.
    How did life get here?!? I think of all the roads that brought me here. It is a scary trip back down the streets of darkness, isolation, and pain.
    I try to pray and cannot. I’m trying to change but it’s so hard. I question everyday if I can do this anymore, I try. Going back out is not an option as I can see the blackness that engulfs that road, the evil, the despair. I can hear the devil laughing as I give over my soul.
    Who am I? If I am not the sum of all my actions, can I be forgiven?
    Tears, my new friend, accompany me on this day of “celebration”.
    I feel like the people all happy getting ready, mock me. Thank god they are gone. I cannot deal with the pity I see on their faces. I smile and say I am okay. Just F.I.N.E. In their happy spirit they can not see the truth behind this acronym.
    Although I am a hypocrite, I ask everyone, to think of their brothers sisters children parents, Family. What will happen to them if you pass away “peacefully” in your sleep? What scars, what wounds will that open that can never really heal? Who will blame themselves for your death for years to come?
    Have a great day everyone, keep trying, I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a nightmare. I’m so sorry. I hope you are able to forgive yourself, everything else can fall into place. Every day is an opportunity to change, to.make new choices. Good luck and know that some of us can feel your pain and would forgive you anything, and are rooting for you to make it. One minute at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

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