Essential Holiday Tips for Parents Dealing with Children who Suffer from Addiction

Holidays can be tough for people struggling with addiction, I know because I’ve gone through it with one son, and now, his older brother has headed down the same road. I’ve got to be kidding, right? Unfortunately, I’m not kidding. Just as one son is getting his life together, the other’s falls apart. Heartbreaking? Absolutely! But, after having gone through it, I know what to do and definitely what not to do, making me more more empowered this time around. I also know that in the spirit of the holiday season, as mothers, we have a tendency to return to our co-dependent behaviors. Of course our little co-dependent behaviors all come with the best of intentions, but as we’ve learned before, they only make the situation worse.
Determined to keep this holiday season joyous and peaceful for everyone, I have come up with a list of Do’s & Don’ts that I wanted to share with all moms having to deal with addiction during this holiday season.

List of Don’ts

  • Don’t try to fix everything
  • Don’t expect your child to be different just because you’re due for a Christmas miracle
  • Don’t over-compensate with gifts, especially if you have been financially strained due to your child’s behavior
  • Don’t trust until it has been fully earned
  • Don’t force others to be around your addicted loved-one if they don’t feel comfortable
  • Don’t love them less than your other children
  • Don’t enable them: let them fall and feel the consequences of their actions
  • Don’t verbalize negative assumptions that don’t empower them
  • Don’t let their addiction define them
  • Don’t let your addicted child’s behavior take away the holiday spirit for the rest of family

The List of Do’s

  • Accept that everything is happening for a reason
  • Take care of yourself!
  • Enjoy all of your moments
  • Listen without judgement
  • Provide a sober environment that reduces triggers
  • Avoid self-blame or any blame at all for that matter
  • Stay firm and consistent in your agreements
  • Remember everybody is suffering from something, so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise

The Three C’s of Dealing with Someone Suffering from Addiction

  • You didn’t cause the addiction
  • You can’t control the addiction
  • You can’t cure the addiction
Enjoy your holiday & get excited about making your personal resolutions for 2017!
I hope these reminders helped, please feel free to pass them on to anyone who has a son or daughter dealing with addiction.

 

Helpful Links for Family & Friends of Addicts

  • Al-Anon.org (al-anon.org) For family members of alcoholics.
  • Nar-anon (nar-anon.org) For family members of addicts.
  • Gam-anon (gam-anon.org) For family members of gamblers.
  • org (coda.org) For co-dependent individuals.
  • org (adultchildren.org) For adult children of alcoholics and addicts.
Peace,
Carolyn

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