Family, Self

What To Do When Your Thanksgiving Is Ruined By Alcoholism

What To Do When Your Thanksgiving Is Ruined By Alcoholism

Thanksgiving. A day of celebration and gratitude. A day of family and relationships. A day with great possibilities and high expectations. A day when my thoughts inevitably go out to the thousands of people whose celebration will be ruined by too much alcohol. People will go to bed tearful and angry, living in situations that cause both high anxiety and crippling depression.

This is one of those occasions when those of us who have known the grueling path a family travels when coping with regular substance abuse need to stand up and speak out. And may I passionately urge that you pass this article on to your social media circle, even if this subject is not particularly relevant to you or your family? It may surprise you to know that there is something you can do right now to impact someone who is living in a horrendous situation of stress.

Our desire to reach out to people who desperately need help and support is constantly thwarted by the wall of silence that surrounds these such situations. Living with a problem drinker is a deeply held shameful secret that is often borne in complete isolation. It's not that people don't want to speak out or share such articles around; it's just that they dare not. What if someone suspects something.  What if someone wonders why this particular article is being picked up on!

So I am unashamedly trying to build up a bit of crowd sharing here; knowing that these partners of drinkers can join the throng unnoticed. Add to this the statistic that one in four people is affected by problem drinking on a regular basis, then you may be positively helping at least a quarter of your friendship circle. It takes only a minute to pass this on and you may never know the impact it may have!

To those of you for whom this article will be poignantly relevant, you do not need to do this alone. There is help out there; people who know how you feel and go through what you are going through. And if your Thanksgiving has been ruined by a problem drinker, here are some things that we can truly be thankful for that alcohol cannot ruin.

We can be thankful that although your partner appears to be totally hooked into unhealthy patterns of behavior, statistics have shown that 66% of all drinkers will stop or reduce their drinking and much of this will happen without statutory interventions. Many drinkers have a critical point of change where the motivation to be different finally becomes stronger than the desire to self-medicate. This is the point where the recovery process will begin. This "small picture" of your present life experiences may feel awfully dark, but the bigger picture is that change is always possible and it can happen for you and your family. My heart goes out to you if this Thanksgiving day has been ruined (yet again) by over indulgence, but do not give up hope. You matter, your situation matters and help and change is possible for both you and your drinker.

Secondly, I am thankful that although your drinker may be unwilling to look at or change his behavior at this time, that is certainly not the case for you. There is, in fact, a great deal you can do both to ease and improve your situation and even influence the way your drinker behaves. And as one who has lived this situation for a long time, running around in ever decreasing circles, the trick is knowing what works and what doesn't! And the problem here is that much of what we intuitively would do in a healthy functional relationship can fall on deaf ears and even make the situation worse.

I am thankful today that others have taken this long and painful path and have figured out what may or may not work so you no longer have to keep beating your head against your drinker's brick wall. May I briefly say here that you owe it to yourself to take your eyes of this present chaos and begin looking again at your own needs and aspirations? You are vitally important both as a person in your own right but also as the one who can then, with renewed well-being, gather wise and pertinent information to the best way forward.

And finally, I am very thankful, as I said earlier, that we do not need to do this alone. Many people have come out of isolation and together gone on a journey of hope and change. Working in this field my husband and I are constantly touched by the support given to the others, as people dare to share their stories and both receive and give support, care and painfully forged pearls of wisdom. There is help and change ready and waiting for you to access as you go forward on this journey. Why don't you make this Thanksgiving one to remember, not just for your own particular horror story, but because you can look back on this point as the one that spurred you on to seek the help you needed. Help that brought you out of the crippling sense of powerlessness and hopelessness and on to the pathway of potent and life-giving change.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you want to find out more go to Bottled Up.