Tips on How to Deal with an Alcoholic Family Member During the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to get together and catch up with family and friends that you may not have seen in a while. However, the stress of preparing holiday dinners, buying gifts and decorating your home are likely to leave you yearning for a quiet, peaceful family gathering. But if you have someone addicted to alcohol in your family, a peaceful family get-together may be more difficult than it sounds. If you don’t know how to go about dealing with this family member during the holidays, try these tips:

  • Set boundaries. If you’re planning a holiday gathering and you’re afraid that an alcoholic family member may cause a scene, it’s important to talk to them about it beforehand. Let them know that you love them and you want them to come, but you don’t want them to drink alcohol while they’re there. In more extreme cases, you may need to emphasize being on time and dressing appropriately.
  • Stick to the boundaries. It may be difficult to tell a loved one that they can’t come to a holiday gathering due to their alcoholism if they don’t want to comply with the boundaries you’ve set. However, being too lenient or allowing them to drink at the gathering is only enabling them and can potentially ruin the holiday fun for everyone.
  • Don’t treat them like an alcoholic. If you have an alcoholic family member in attendance at your holiday gathering, act natural and don’t treat them like an outcast. This won’t help them potentially get better and it won’t be comfortable for anyone else there. Additionally, if your loved one has arrived and isn’t drinking per your request, try to avoid drinking around them. This is both discouraging and tempting.
  • Don’t feel responsible for their actions. If an alcoholic family member gets drunk and causes a scene during the holidays, it’s not your fault. If you’ve done all you can to help prevent this from happening and they drink anyways, the next step is to try to talk to them about getting help.

Everyone in your family should enjoy the holidays, and this means anyone with an addiction as well. If someone in your family is suffering from alcoholism, be there for them and remind them that they can find help.

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