We know the holidays are a time of joy and happiness. But sometimes, they can become stressful when dealing with difficult alcoholic family members. Alcohol and drugs are often used as coping mechanisms. Suddenly, family gatherings turn into a conflict between loved ones. So how do you deal with an alcoholic family?
Following are seven essential techniques to help you get through.
Don’t defend yourself regarding your decisions. If you’re planning a holiday gathering and are concerned that an alcoholic family member may cause a scene, discussing this with them beforehand is essential.
Let them know how much you care and love them and want them to come, but you don’t want them to drink alcohol while they’re visiting.
If they don’t want to comply with your boundaries, it may not be easy to tell a loved one that they can’t come to a holiday gathering due to their alcoholism. Although, being too lenient or allowing them to drink at the gathering only enables them and can potentially ruin the holiday fun for everyone. In more extreme cases, you may need to emphasize being on time and dressing properly.
Most people’s behavior improves when outsiders are present. Invite someone if you can count on your family member to be on their best behavior for the company. People always would love a place to go on the holidays. Having a new face at the table can help to keep your alcoholic relative accountable.
Always act natural If you have an alcoholic family member at your holiday gathering. Do not treat them like an outcast. It will exacerbate the problem and make other guests uncomfortable. Moreover, if your loved one has arrived and is honoring your request not to drink, you should show your support and avoid drinking around them. This is supportive and encouraging. It will also keep them from feeling tempted.
Everyone has strengths. Figure out what your loved one is good at and ask them to help. Do they enjoy assisting in the kitchen? Maybe they like telling stories or working on crafts? Whatever it may be, find out what it is and make sure it is meaningful, not just busy work. This will ensure they have a place to shine.
Most likely, you are not the only one affected by your alcoholic loved one’s behavior. Think about who you can count on to help back you up. Then come up with a strategy for how you will approach the situation. Set up a signal you’ll use to communicate with each other if necessary. Again, this is not to be used to gang up on them or make them feel bad, but rather a way to steer the individual’s potentially troublesome behavior in a different direction.
Take charge of seating arrangements. Put people who don’t get along with them as far away as possible and sit them next to you or one of your helpers. This way, you can diffuse improper conversation topics as soon as they begin.
You need to realize it’s not your fault, and it’s not your responsibility. If things get out of hand, particularly where alcohol or weapons are involved, don’t hesitate to call the police immediately.
Don’t forget that just because you are a family member does not mean you are protected. We are only safe (physically, emotionally, psychologically) when we either avoid or control those situations or individuals that would harm us.
Is your loved one arrested? Contact Acts Now Bail Bond now! We are available 24×7 and serve all counties in Colorado.