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How to Use the Holidays to Help Your Addicted Loved One

Coping with Additction During the Holidays
Written by Cher Zavala

An addiction afflicts more than just the individual; an addict’s community, including his or her family and friends, is just as affected by his or her choices.

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For most families, the holidays are the best time of year. Everyone gathers in the spirit of giving to enjoy love and laughter as the year draws to a close. However, families with an addict may find the holidays a particularly stressful period, as a loved one’s addiction may create conflict and spread discord to interrupt the merriment.


An addiction afflicts more than just the individual; an addict’s community, including his or her family and friends, is just as affected by his or her choices. The holidays present the perfect opportunity to inform an addict of the widespread detriment of his or her addiction and hopefully put an end to it once and for all.

Gathering Loved Ones
Holidays are a time for closeness, which means that regardless of an addict’s activity, friends and family will come from far and wide to experience the good cheer. This means that your addict’s loved ones have already congregated in one place, and they can then work together in the addict’s best interest. Most of the closest loved ones are probably well aware of addict’s problems, and because of this, they will be invaluable in discussions with the addict. Other friends and relatives who will be present — though perhaps not active in the intervention — should be quietly and respectfully informed; later, they may be called upon to give support to the addict and close family.

Some loved ones may not be supportive of this conflict during what should be a “happy” time of year, but it is exactly the positivity of the holidays that will bring everyone together (the addict included) to fight the addiction.

Talking to an Addict
Among the gathered loved ones, you should assemble a core team of five or six highly trusted individuals — parents, siblings, and other close relatives are most likely candidates. This group will be responsible for most of the communication during the intervention. They will be called upon to speak directly to the addict, sharing their experiences with the addict’s problems and extending their love and concern.
During discussions with the addict, no family members or friends should attempt to dissuade the addict from seeking treatment. While this may seem obvious, there are plenty of seemingly harmless behaviors that could convince an addict to continue his or her abuse. Becoming angry or violent will make an addict defensive of his or her choices; any extreme emotion could have a negative effect on the proceedings. Everyone should remain level-headed and sure.

Family members should be open and considerate when discussing treatment options. Addiction is a complicated disease with many strategies for healing. While many addicts picture rehabilitation as taking place in a cold, dark room, the truth is just the opposite. Remind your addict that he or she may seek sobriety in the warm, tropical comfort of a drug rehab in Florida, for example.

Caring for an addict

Showing Support
Ultimately, any intervention should end with the addict accepting his or her problem and being admitted into a treatment facility. This is perhaps the most difficult part of the intervention ceremony, as it requires the addict to act against his or her urges and comply with the major life changes required by sobriety.

The holidays may make it more difficult for an addict to choose to enter treatment right away. The traditions and togetherness — not to mention the plethora of alcoholic beverages and other tempting substances — make the holidays at home much more appealing than a foreign treatment facility. However, for an intervention to succeed, it is crucial that the addict commit to concrete steps to ending his or her addiction.

The intervention team and all other surrounding loved ones should be aware of the promises the addict makes and support them as best they can. This may mean immediately taking the addict to a rehab center and visiting the center during the holidays. However, there are a handful of ways you can incorporate support for the addict into your holiday festivities. Loved ones can write letters of encouragement, and little ones can create holiday crafts with which the addict can decorate his or her room. No matter what, the addict should continue to feel waves of warmth and love for the entirety of his or her treatment and recovery.

The holidays are a wonderful time to be with one’s family — especially if one’s family includes an addict. You can bring everyone closer together and give the gift of sobriety if you help your addict see the truth.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

My main acceptance in life would be that “change” itself is a constant and regardless of opinion it is inevitable. Making peace with ones self and accepting the things we CANNOT change is key to living a full and happy life. Within those experiences we grow as people and learn.

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I have learned to appreciate all of my imperfections as it makes me who I am as a person and in reality “perfection” is all up for interpretation. In return I have taught myself to replace the old methods in dealing with situations and problems with ones that will deliver or elicit positive responses and solutions.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

I believe my core values or the personal rules I have set in place for myself and chose to live by have brought nothing but reward to my life as it has created my known presence to be one of value and those things remind me daily of my standards set if ever I were to steer off course.

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

Over analyzing every situation would definitely be a not-so-perfect quirk about myself, leading my mind to wander with thoughts of what-if’s, that usually are just that, “what-if’s”. Along with spontaneity and positivity it creates my not-so-perfect, but awesome self!! 🙂

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)

Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?

I love my positive outlook on life and the huge heart I carry with me daily filled with nothing but compassion for others and a willingness to always be learning something new.

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About the author

Cher Zavala

Cher is a content coordinator who assists in contributing quality articles on various topics. In her free time she also enjoys hiking, traveling and getting to know the world around her. Cher has built up many strong relationships over the years within the blogging community and loves sharing her useful tips with others.

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