For many Xmas is a time of peace and joy, a time of goodwill to all men. Its a time of celebration, eating too much and falling asleep on the sofa. It is a time for families, for children (big and small) for extravagance and fun. However, for a significant minority it is a nightmare, a time to dread, a time for shame, drunkenness, arguments (maybe even violence) and a time for misery.
Here are seven things that you can do to try and make this year different from previous years. A little forward planning can help to avoid some of the pitfalls that normally happen to derail the Xmas spirit.
Have a pre-Xmas talk with your drinker. Yes we know you always do and every year you ask him not to get drunk and every year he does. This year you could try telling him that you would rather that he did not drink during Xmas but you know that he is almost certainly going to. So would he please wait till after the Xmas dinner at least before he starts drinking or drinking seriously. This is a time where you may need to compromise. Use the new year for new resolutions, the new way ahead, and for lasting patterns of change.
Don’t buy in huge amounts of booze for Xmas. In fact buy as little as possible. He may buy his own supply and hide it but at least it may slow him down.
Maybe instead of having Xmas dinner at home go out to a restaurant. OK he may still get drunk but at least there are other people around to police his behaviour. It is important to remember (and to believe) that if he gets drunk and behaves badly that he is making a fool of himself, not you!
Have a back-up plan, so if he gets drunk you will have somewhere else to go. OK so you should be able to have Xmas in peace in your own house but sometimes we need to be realistic. Which is better, having another miserable Xmas full of anger and resentment or having a tension free Xmas dinner at a restaurant or a friend’s house?
Decide that you will have dinner with your drinker and when it is over take the kids to the cinema, or a show (if they are open) or somewhere like the park or beach. This way you have something nice to look forward to rather than trying to escape from something awful.
Don’t argue with a drunk! We can’t stress this enough. Discussions with drunks seldom achieve anything except confusion, anger and frustration. It is so easy to get sucked in and before you know it the argument is in full swing. Give yourself a break and walk away.
If you do go to a party and he gets drunk and behaves badly, you do not need to stay till the end. You can leave anytime you like, that is your choice, how he behaves is his choice.
If you have tried all of this and still nothing has worked then, maybe it is time for something more drastic. Take the kids, if you have them, and go away for Xmas to a warm sun-drenched beach or a cruise, holiday park or anywhere nice. It may not solve the problem in your relationship but it could guarantee you a great Xmas.
Whatever you do at Xmas, we hope that it is a happy and peaceful one. For more information and tips about living with an alcoholic go to Bottled Up website.