The holiday season is supposed to be a time of happiness and good cheer. People adorn their homes with holiday decorations, restaurants and coffee shops switch to festive seasonal offerings, friends and colleagues get together for holiday parties, and families begin planning their annual gatherings.
While the holidays always come with the hope for a good upcoming year, they’re also rife with difficulties for some families. Holiday gatherings magnify underlying issues, especially substance use problems and challenging family dynamics. Making it through the season unscathed would be a Christmas miracle. Healing the family seems like a far-off dream.
Reaching a place of healing for your family and finding hope during the holidays may feel like an impossible feat. After years of living with or loving someone who struggles with substance abuse, the negative effects permeate the rest of the family’s relationships. Conflicts lurking below the surface often arise with the stresses of the holiday season.
Healing and hope may not be as inaccessible as you think, but they also may not come about the way you expect them to. Focusing on yourself instead of your loved one is the first step to reaching a place of healing and achieving hope this holiday season.
Substance Abuse, Your Loved One, and the Holiday Season
When someone in the family struggles with substance abuse, stressful holidays are the norm. You’re used to wondering whether they will show up or how they will behave when they do. Will they drink or use drugs while they’re there? Will they be unpleasant if they don’t or disruptive if they do? Will they cause a scene or leave early?
If substance abuse is a part of your family experience, you’re all too familiar with these questions. They likely crop up in your head as soon as the weather starts to turn in September or October. The shift in seasons marks the beginning of the hard times during the holidays.
How can you possibly find healing and hope for your family if your loved one continues using substances? Surely things would be fine if only they would quit drinking or using drugs. Their behavior would no longer plague your waking and even sleeping thoughts. You could finally find some peace, right?
Although substance abuse disrupts traditional family relationships, it’s only one part of the puzzle. Families with a family member who abuses drugs or alcohol develop dysfunctional patterns over the years. You may be familiar with the six family roles in active addiction. They outline the common cast of characters that families tend to fall into when one member struggles with substance abuse.
Each of these roles contributes to the ongoing problematic patterns. Your family will continue to struggle until you’re willing to look at the traits you have that keep things as they are, even after your loved one stops using drugs or alcohol. Healing the family means everyone needs to do their part.
Sobriety Isn’t the Only Path to Healing the Family
Healing isn’t only your loved one’s job; it’s also yours. You likely have some troubling behavioral patterns that stem from adapting to your loved one’s behavior over the years. While their origin may not be your fault, healing them and finding hope is your responsibility. You won’t find a resolution for your internal battles until you’re willing to surrender to the healing process.
You don’t have control over whether your loved one stops using drugs or alcohol. You do have control over how you respond to them, though. But unless you find the help you need, you’ll continue with the same habits that cause the same patterns to play out. Once you change your response, it interrupts the familiar order of things.
You can reach a place of peace even if your loved one continues using substances. Their behavior doesn’t have to dictate your mental, emotional, or physical well-being. Reaching this point takes intentional practice, often with the guidance of a mental health professional. Healing the family doesn’t require your loved one to get sober; it only requires one person who is ready to make a change.
Emerge Recovery insists on doing rehab differently. We know that traditional treatment approaches don’t work for everyone, otherwise more people would stay sober. We also recognize the gaps in these programs that often leave enough room for the rest of the family to fall through.
We don’t only provide a whole-person approach to recovery; we insist on a whole-family approach. This means ensuring that you receive the same high level of care that is often reserved for your loved one. And if they aren’t ready to stop, Emerge Recovery is still here to help you start your healing process without them.
To learn more about the Emerge Recovery difference, reach out to us today. We’ll help you define a path to healing and hope with a free 30-minute Recovery Activation call. This holiday season can be the time you decide to take the first step in your healing journey and we look forward to helping you along the way.