Celebrating is a relative term. For some people, celebrating means getting plastered and not remembering the day; sure, maybe that was the old you. For others, it is sitting at the edge of a mountain or on the beach at the ocean and contemplating peace and serenity. For you, perhaps now it is about a little more than eating and sharing time with people who are important to you. What matters is that you get what you need from your celebration. And if you can help someone else enjoy their celebration, even better.

The challenge in holiday celebration when addiction is involved causes some concern, especially when the addiction is to a recreational drug or alcohol. Whether you are an addict in recovery, or a family member of an addict in or out of recovery, a whole new set of rules come into play.

The first thing you should consider is whether you, the addict, want to be present at a holiday celebration where alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs will be present. If you are in recovery, it could present a temptation you are desirous of resisting, but not able to resist. That could be the beginning of a terrible time for you, and the bigger question of course, is, “Is it worth it?”

You have come so far, are you prepared to risk everything for a single event? If you are cemented to your program, you will not. But it is a choice for you to make.

What if you ask your host that there be no drugs or alcohol present? Is that a fair burden to place on others? While everyone has a different answer, I think it is not unreasonable to say that you would be happy to attend so long as it is a sober event, but that you are not comfortable if drugs or alcohol are there. It is then up to the host to decide how to proceed, and since you have addressed it in advance, it preserves your sanity, and that’s paramount to your recovery.

What if you are the host, for other family members? Is it your responsibility to provide a sober environment for one of your guests, even if they are family? The answer is no, you are not obligated; however, it is always nice to consider the needs of others when planning. You might show consideration for that day to others for different reasons, why not be considerate to this member of your family? Your answer could well be that you have bent over backwards for too many years and they need to accommodate you at this point, and that’s really not unreasonable, but if you do, you may exclude them from the party. Are you okay with it? Only you can answer.

The purpose of a celebration is to have fun. It is family time, fun time, time for reflection and a time for reviewing and renewing your religiosity. If you can’t enjoy the holidays, then do something different. Everyone ought to do what works best for them. In the end, you can love and understand each other’s feelings. Enjoy your Christmas, and love one another. Merry Christmas to you all.

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