Episode 119: 12 Holiday Tips From Your Sisters

Let’s be real with each other. The holidays are tough. Especially when you love someone who drinks too much or has a problem with drugs. And because I want you to know – you don’t have to do this alone – I’ve asked some of our wise women in the Secret Facebook Group to share their personal holiday tips to have a warm and wonderful holiday.

I’m so proud of them, and I hope you’ll be inspired by their courage, strength, and creativity. I adore them, and I know you will too. We’re sisters – forever.

Here are their holiday tips for you:

Holiday Tip #1: “Even though I’ve been gone, what I did and still do is immerse myself in the cooking and baking for the holidays. That’s what gives me joy!”

Holiday Tip #2: “We usually go to my in-laws, and they’re a very dysfunctional group (alcoholism, drug addiction, and codependency). I always have an escape plan. We usually have two vehicles, and I have the keys to at least one of them. Don’t get me wrong; I love my in-laws. But lately, when I’m around them, I can really see how far I’ve come.”

Holiday Tip #3: “We try to focus on our favorite traditions and plan things that are just the children and me so we can be excited about doing those. Cutting down the tree, then going to dinner and coming home to watch ‘Elf,’ baking cookies, buying and wrapping gifts for the less fortunate. I also like to put out the gratitude jar this month and remember what we have to be grateful for.”

Holiday Tip #4: “I’ve started to say ‘no’ to my in-laws coming from out of town as they’re always a problem. After a dozen ruined holidays, I’m happy to host them at another time but not Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas. We focus on more of an intimate celebration with our kids and try to go and do a couple of activities that are important to them. I also have a firm rule that if my husband is binging or mentally unwell, I will not miss anything because of it and proudly take my kids out to enjoy.”

Holiday Tip #5:

“I tried to plan family activities that did not have access to alcohol.”

 
Holiday Tip #6: “Taking it one day at a time. If someone acts up, I can detach and leave the room. I always have a backup plan.”

Holiday Tip #7: “Since I host the holidays at my house, I’m so busy prepping, cooking and cleaning, I don’t have time to worry so much. It’s a great stress-reliever. And, it’s not like he helps me do anything to prepare for the dinner, so it’s all on me. But, I’m glad to keep busy. I’ll bake, cook, shop and wrap for Christmas too, so no time to worry about him. He’s ruined enough in the past and I will not let him have that control any longer.”

Holiday Tip #8: “My alcoholic husband goes to see his mom out of town. I don’t mind one bit; then I can enjoy my parents and my extended family. I also love this time of the year: decorating, gift shopping, and wrapping presents calm me.”

Holiday Tip #9:

“Staying sober, having my own car and a plan, and honestly just wrapping up the events in my home before it gets ‘crazy.’”

 
Holiday Tip #10: “My recovering husband was sober when I met him. He had been for nearly 14 years when he began again. Our first three years, all his holidays were sober no matter where or how we celebrated. A bottle of wine was enough for the whole table at Thanksgiving or Easter when we hosted.

Over time, that changed for the worse. But truly, most of my family is sober. If we visit, it’s dry, and if we stay home we can control what is brought in. This will be our first holiday season of his new recovery, eight months sober now after 14 years drinking. He has the benefit of those that love him have known and supported his sobriety in the past. Still, I’m a bit anxious about so many weeks of gatherings, parties, feasts, and indulgences — one day at a time. Thankfully, he has a sponsor, a counselor, two meetings a week and daily reading to keep him on track. I have all of you and a counselor of my own.”

Holiday Tip #11:

“My “HER” list has been prepped since the day I started this program (my HER list = “Holiday Emergency Resource” list).

 
With Michelle’s tools, I came up with this list of what works for me…

  • I drive myself to all events/family gatherings. If my husband wants to go, he has to drive himself separately. This way, I’m in control of how long I want to stay and don’t stress myself out about being responsible for my husband’s choices.
  • If he starts drinking, I leave the room and/or event. I won’t force people to get rid of him. That’s their choice. It’s their home. But I also won’t allow his behavior to steal my joy. I can only control myself. And choosing to leave if he gets out of line is within my control.
  • I also don’t have people over to my house – I go to them. That used to make me sad, thinking, “No one will see my beautiful holiday decor,” but…peace is WAY more valuable to me than someone getting to visit my home to tell me how much they love my valances. I can live without that. I CAN’T live without my joy. And choosing not to have guests over is within my control.
  • I enjoy every minute that I can of gift-wrapping, shopping, sending holiday cards, baking, watching holiday movies, drinking hot chocolate, and playing in the snow with my daughter.”

 
Holiday Tip #12: “The holidays are so filled with activities, gatherings – it’s uplifting and draining. That’s when my mind starts telling me lots of crazy things. So I’m going to try fewer activities and more sleep so I can enjoy the holidays. My alcoholic drinks more during the holidays which is rough but I’ll try to detach (my first holiday season in the program and with all you lovely ladies) and move away without becoming the parent. This may be a low-key holiday season for me!”

Look how amazingly wise the women in our community are! Let me tell ya, they’re some super smart, intelligent and capable females and I just love them to pieces.

 
They know how to prepare for the holidays, and these are the tips that work for them. Do you have holiday tips you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear them. Email us anytime at Info@LoveOverAddiction.com to share.

I hope you found some encouragement in the fact that you’re not alone. We’re always here for you during this time of year.

P.S. I hope you’ll join us in our loving, safe and confidential community. We’ve got your back – always and forever.

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