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10 Tips for ‘How to deal with your addicted relative being away at the holidays’

  1. It’s not about you. Don’t take it personal or like they are trying to ruin your holiday. In fact, the best gift they can give you is their own healthy functioning. If you don’t see that, you might be struggling with co-dependency.
  1. Take some time to heal from the combat zone you have been in for the last season of life with your loved one and the infectious disease called addiction which always contaminates and spreads dysfunction and hurt to those in contact with the addict. Healing should be pursued in all 3 spheres of Spirit (re-connection with God and your faith), Mind (good healthy daily life management, relationships, and decision-making), and Body (sleep/rest, nutrition, and exercise).
  1. Pray for God’s peace and wisdom. After reconnecting with God, pray for your loved one to be humble in accepting a different Instruction Book for managing their life. Also pray for God’s peace and wisdom as you evaluate the past, live in the present, and prepare for your loved one’s discharge and future relationship with them.
  1. Develop realistic expectations. Your loved one didn’t develop an addiction overnight and it won’t go away quickly. Recovery and transformation is a process and will have some adversity and setbacks. Think of how you can be a helper, but not an enabler.
  1. Recalibrate your emotions. You have probably been Super Bowling everything or walking on eggshells. Soothe and bring your emotional intensity back into realistic realm, so you can think clearly, not be on edge, and not let your emotions become your decision making system. You will struggle if you let your emotions or your discomfort be the main guide to your decisions.
  1. Work on forgiving your loved one for transgressions. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it is easier than you think and way easier than the alternative of harboring rage, revenge, spite, and needing to extract some form of payment or pain from them to make up for the pain they caused you. Release yourself from these requirements and turn them over to God to figure out. This one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
  1. Determine the healthy boundaries you need to establish when your loved one leaves rehab so you can stop enabling and be a healthy help to their progress. For some, that might mean doing more, for others, that mean doing less. You might need a professional coach or therapist to help you understand the best way way for you to interact and help/stand back when your loved one returns.
  1. Write a letter to your loved one letting them know what you did to make fertile ground for their addiction, what you might have done to fan the flame of their addiction, and what you are going to do differently to love them in a more healthy way. You didn’t cause their addiction nor can you  control their addiction, but you probably have some influence on them and we want that influence to be a healthy one.
  1. Change your view and attitude of your loved one to someone who is sick and needs God’s help, love, and peace. They have something deeper inside they are struggling with (we all do) and they are looking to the wrong answer to get rid of that struggle. This doesn’t always mean saying yes to all their requests, but when you say ‘No,’ tell them why in the context of you love them and have a better answer to what is going to meet that deeper need or heal that deeper hurt they are running from.

10. Commit to being honest and open with your loved one when they come back from treatment. The truth in love. Satan thrives in the darkness, secrets, and vagueness of life. Don’t fall into that trap.