How To Deal With Alcohol Addiction On The Fourth Of July

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It's one of the biggest party holidays of the year.

Yes, I know that you're not supposed to say it but — Not everyone loves the 4th of July!

If you live with an alcoholic, the celebration can be a nightmare. At Bottled Up we try and help people with not only doing things to change their situations but also to stop them from making their situation worse. Here are some tips to get you through the holiday with your sanity intact.

Your partner is busy getting the drinks in. He, or she, has started stocking up on alcohol and you're uneasily beginning to remember last year. And, come to think of it, the year before that. Yet again there is enough booze for 50 people but you've only invited 20.

You've always loved celebrations — particularly this one. Summer sunshine, the smell of food cooking on the barbecue and the family comes over while everyone is talking about the holidays they booked. Its a time to relax, chill out and enjoy each other's company. And that's the part you play as hostess year after year — carefree, loving, in control.

Maybe the truth is something entirely different. There will be far too much alcohol available. "So we don't run out," will be the excuse given but the real reason is that your partner is making sure there is plenty of drink for them. Then the jokes will become too blue, the laughter will become too loud. If they're cooking, the food will be overdone as they sways around and doesn't concentrate. And, worst of all, you daren’t say anything in case they picks a fight and you become a killjoy. Welcome to 4 July!

Sadly, the above scenario is all too familiar. Many people like you are gearing themselves up for some familiar unpleasant scenarios. But take to heart that you're not alone and there are some solutions and strategies available to help you. Right now though, you need to survive this holiday and get through it. Here are some tips that may help.

1. Detach yourself

July 4 is a celebration when drink flows freely and having slightly more than you should is pretty common. Your partner may be getting the drinks in but so are many other people too! You are worried about the problem drinking (and you have every right to be) but July 4 is one of those days we generally give ourselves permission to overindulge a bit.

This is the day, of all days, when your partner's cringingly embarrassing behavior is actually more likely to blend in. The reasons for their drinking more palatable and obvious. Tonight you don't have to be mentally hang your head in shame — you can just shrug your shoulders and say "Well it is July 4th".  This is not to condone their behavior in any way because we don’t. Take your eyes off the drinker for today and give yourself permission to relax, after all it's your holiday too.

2. Reckon with that beforehand and accept limitations wisely

We aren't saying that there is nothing wrong. Of course there is a need for change, challenge and expressing emotions if you live with an alcoholic but rarely is a holiday celebration the time to do it. Challenge that comes out of anger rarely produces the required result and sadly these holidays are often trigger points because of hopes and aspirations being crushed and disappointed.

The rage and frustration bubbling away below the surface can well up and overflow. Be aware of your vulnerabilities and make a firm decision beforehand to avoid confrontation. Do it on a holiday and it will blow up in your face. They'll come back at you self-righteousness dripping from every pore, pointing out that she is just enjoying a day off just like everyone else. You'll be cast in the role of destroyer of pleasure and any solid, very real, reasons you have for your protests will be trampled underfoot. By all means go there at another time but before you do that find out how best to confront and where and when would achieve the best intervention.

3. Be prepared, take a bit of time to think ahead and ward off some of the obvious pitfalls

If you're going to someone else's party you don't have to stay to the bitter end, particularly if you are uncomfortable with his behavior. If they insists on taking their car then take your own car as well or arrange to get a lift home with a friend. You can also get a friend to give them a lift home later. There's no rule that says you have to stay and be embarrassed or belittled. Take yourself away if your partner's behavior deteriorates if you possibly can. Don't just hope for a way out, make a plan.

 If you're having family and friends over at your place, dream up some planned distractions. For example, introduce a game in another room that gathers the nearly sober away from obviously drunk. Or a DVD you introduce for the children that settles them down away from the volatile tempers or inappropriate behavior. Plan another party with your friends. Get them thinking instead of drinking!

If you're by yourself as a family the same tips apply in figuring out how to separate in some way from unsocial behavior. You may not know how to stop the drinking yet but you absolutely don't have to stay around and watch it! You know your situation and what will work best but the bottom line is — don't hang around to be disrespected.

Above all, keep yourself and your children safe! If this article strikes a chord with you then you can find much more information, help and support at Bottled Up, the website for anyone who lives with an alcoholic.

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