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Managing the Christmas season with an addict

There’s no doubt that the Christmas season brings a lot of joy for people. But it’s also a time when people feel a lot of pressure to have fun and it can be a difficult time for people who love someone who is an addict. 

There’s a lot of temptation and a lot to worry about. But, there are ways to manage the frustration and fatigue felt from worrying about someone else so much. 

Christmas is a season of hope and we’ve got some ways to help you manage this holiday so that you don’t feel alone.  

How does Livingstone House help the family and friends of addicts? 

We offer a range of materials to help families, friends and employers to understand addiction. It is often a frightening and lonely world when you are trying to support someone you care for who has an addiction problem.

Please be reassured that whatever you are experiencing is not your fault, or your responsibility to resolve.

Tips on managing the Christmas season  

Set Boundaries 

It could be tempting to make life easier and just not invite the person struggling with addiction in your family or friendship circle to your Christmas events. It would save potential awkward and difficult situations. But, pushing someone away could worsen their situation, making them feel unwanted, lonely and removed from their support network. 

Instead, we recommend creating some boundaries you can put in place this Christmas to help everyone out. Boundaries and plans will help people to feel comfortable as they know what to expect. Sharing them in advance will get everyone on the same page. 

  • Alcohol – could you have an alcohol free event? Can you remove temptation or potential difficult conversations by removing alcohol altogether?
  • Gifts – could you swap out any traditions of giving expensive gifts to relieve pressure? Or try to simplify things with a secret santa and budget limit so that you only have to buy for one person. 
  • Time – if you know that people out stay their welcome, or particular people being together in the same room cause arguments and stress, put a limit on the time people spend together. Be honest. Set out a plan from the start. 

This interview published by the BBC a few Christmas ago gives a good insight into the challenges addicts face at Christmas and gives some ideas on how to encourage and support an addict during the holiday season. 

Don’t go it alone 

Sometimes it’s tempting to retreat and cancel plans from friends and family when you think about potential embarrassment or awkwardness between your friends and the choices that the addict in your life is making, or has made. 

It’s normal to worry about what other people think about the person in your life who is working through addiction, but isolating yourself won’t help. Don’t hide away from your own support network! 

Are you carrying the burden of someone’s health alone? 

Is there someone in your life who needs help with addiction treatment right now? If you are worried about someone you love who you think needs to get some support with addiction treatment please contact us today

Give yourself a break 

Don’t worry about perfection… it’ isn’t the decorations, food or gifts that people remember about Christmas time, it’s the time you spend together. 

Reach out if you need support 

Tell a friend or another family member your concerns about the Christmas holiday season. Sharing your thoughts with someone else helps you to not feel burdened. 

And, we are here to help too. Livingstone House can help with questions like: ‘how do I talk to a loved one about their drink or drug abuse?’ or signpost you in the direction of support for you during a loved one’s treatment. 

Take a look at the support we can offer you as you care for someone who is an addict. 

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