As a woman in long-term recovery from alcoholism, I can share with you from firsthand perspective addicts are full of excuses. I’m talking, compelling, creative, persuasive excuses. In my addiction, I was the “queen of denial” and super persuasive when it came to protecting my disease.
If you would have told me seven years ago I should perhaps not be physically present for the holiday season, and instead, get treatment for my addiction and trauma, I would have told you you were out of your mind. Who would make dinner? Decorate? Who would bring holiday cheer to the entire family? Umm, hello, basically Christmas would have stopped had I not been present.
Fun fact: addicts are characteristically self-centered and delusional.
The reality was, I typically passed out before perfectly placing my son’s gifts under the tree. I drank more wine than I cooked with. I slurred the words to Christmas carols. My special spiked cider was way too bourbon-y for anyone to drink.
More “Bad Santa” than “It’s a Wonderful Life”
One of the major pros of my career with Serenity Light is building relationships with other industry professionals who bring alternative perspectives to recovery. Jamie Edwards, founder and family coach with The Refuge Center of Houston, is the “normie” mother of a recovering heroin addict.
I sat down over lattes with my dear friend to get her professional and personal perspective on some major objections one might hear from their loved one to getting treatment over the holidays.
- Objection #1: I don’t want to miss the holidays with my family
- Reality: In most instances you have not been “with” the family due to incarceration, bad relationships or you don’t “show up” due to being in the disease of addiction. Being physically present is not the same as mentally, spiritually and emotionally present.
- Objection #2: But everyone will know / find out if I’m not around!
- Reality: Secrets are part of what fuels the family disease of addiction. This may be a golden opportunity for a much-needed admission. Uncovering the dysfunction of hiding, lying and denial is a step towards acceptance and healing.
- Objection #3: Let’s just hold off for the holidays…. I’ll get treatment after the New Year.
- Reality: There’s no other fatal disease that we might say “hold off on treatment until after the holidays”. If our family member had cancer, we’d encourage immediate treatment. Addiction is just as lethal. When we don’t treat the disease of substance abuse with immediacy, we are denying it is a disease.
Jamie Edwards is an addiction and recovery professional. She holds five nationally recognized certifications: Recovery Coach (NCRC), Family Recovery Coach (NCFRC), Christian Life Coach (NCCLC), Christian Family Recovery Coach (NCCFRC) and Food Addictions Coach (NCFAC). Jamie has a BS in Education from McNeese State University and an MA in Christian Leadership with an emphasis in Family Addiction Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. She is a writer, blogger, speaker, educator, coach and Christian and Pastoral Care counselor.
As we finish our coffees, Jamie shares that in our society often we are influenced by media, commercials, movies, and greeting cards. We create a fantasized ideal of the holidays. In doing so, we perpetuate the lie that “this time it will be different”. But for something to be different, our loved one must get help.