Tools For Surviving Hard Weekends
Tools For Surviving Hard Weekends
The 4th of July is coming up and believe it or not, it’s one of our busiest times of the year. The holiday tends to be a huge time for drinking and drugs and addiction. And this year, with the coronavirus going on, I really wanted to give you some specific tools for surviving a hard weekend when you love someone suffering from addiction.
Listen to the podcast episode here:
Read the transcript and find more details here:
Not only is it a weekend, which Fridays and Saturdays tend to be the busiest days for drugs or alcohol, but you also have a holiday on the weekend. So it’s a double whammy for us.
I want to make sure that you are equipped and prepared and know exactly what you are going to do so that you have a decent holiday. I’m not going to say ‘good,’ because it’s tough to have good holidays when you love someone suffering from addiction. So we need to set the expectations upfront correctly. And that means if you can get through this weekend without any arguments, without any tears. I’m not saying crying is bad, or anger is bad, but this weekend is going to be a test for you.
If you can get through this weekend fully equipped and prepared and take accountability, I think you will come out of this weekend, grateful and happy, and with a higher confidence level than you went into it.
You’re going to be victorious this hard weekend.
You are going to take control of the narrative and take control of your life this weekend. You’re going to come out better and feel confident knowing that if you got through this weekend you will be able to repeat this over and over and over again.
I know that you can do this. I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be easy. So that’s the other expectation we need to check. What you’re going to do, and what I’m asking you to do, it’s going to take work. It’s going to take preparation. It’s going to take determination and commitment, but I know that you can do it because everything that I tell you, I’ve done myself, and I am just like everyone else.
So if I can do it, and there’s nothing special about me, you can do it. Okay?
So we know the 4th of July weekend is coming up. You’ve been informed and know that it’s going to be a time when if your loved one is trying to get sober and stay sober, they’re going to be struggling this weekend to remain committed to their sobriety. We know they’re going to be tested. We know they’re going to feel uncomfortable in their own skin.
There’s going to be far more commercials for beer or alcohol. If you’re a podcast listener, there’s going to be more sponsorships that encourage celebrating the weekend by use of alcohol or drugs.
Your loved one is going to feel pressure this weekend.
If they are not trying to get sober and actively using or drinking, they might indulge even more than usual. We know that holidays are typically a time where they feel they have permission more than usual to lose control and get wasted.
Let’s start by taking inventory right now. Recognize where your partner is at in their work towards sobriety. They might be in complete denial. In which case, you should expect even more drinking or drug use.
They might be sober right now. In which case, you should expect them to struggle a bit more with maintaining their sobriety. So ask yourself, “Where’s my loved one in this spectrum?” Clarify this for yourself because it will help you set your expectations.
Three tools for surviving a hard weekend
Now that you’ve taken self-inventory, you’re ready for the three tools that you can apply to this weekend. You have three choices.
Remember, we don’t say that you are powerless over this disease in this community. That’s BS. We don’t subscribe to that theory at all. That’s a very common saying in the recovery world.
We are different. We know you have power over this disease. You are not a powerless, helpless victim creature. You are strong, and you are grounded, fully capable of reclaiming your life over this.
I’m going to give you three options that you can do this weekend, and you get to choose which one sounds right for you. Okay? But the key is to prepare and put one of these plans into action.
So number one, if you are invited to an event to celebrate the 4th of July, which a lot of you won’t be because we’re dealing with the coronavirus and social distancing. But if by chance you are and you want to go, you are allowed to go. I’m giving you permission to thumbs up, go for it, go to this.
Practice social distancing, but go, you have my total blessing. But you may not go with your partner. If they’re going to tag along, then you can’t go this 4th of July.
I want you to go without them. Five minutes of a good time is better than them tagging along with you. It’s better than them going to this party and ruining your good time and potentially embarrassing you. Or them lying to you about drinking and then you get into the car with them. So go to the party without them.
If you’ve had five minutes of fun, consider it a success.
Do not go to the party with them. I know for a lot of us codependents that advice is tough, right? Because we rely heavily on their company – even if their company makes us miserable.
For some very unhealthy reason, we like being around them. We like keeping an eye on them. It gives us a false sense of control. We like keeping tabs on them so that we can rub their faces in it later and not be lied to. It helps us feel like we know the truth of what’s really going on. But I want you to break that negative pattern. So you’re going to go to the party without them.
The second option you have for celebrating the 4th of July weekend is creating a safe space in your house. Let’s say you have nowhere to go or you’re not comfortable going out. And you were planning on staying home with your loved one. And you know, based on the past that there is a very high probability they are going to drink and overindulge.
There’s a very high probability of that driving you insane and causing you pain, frustration, and hurt. So if you’re staying home with your loved one, you need to create a safe space.
What does that look like? It means that today, you are going to start to think of a space in your living quarters, a private area with a door. It can’t be an open living space, and it has to be a door with a lock. And if you don’t have a lock in your door, go to Home Depot, buy a lock and install it. Yes, you can. I know that sounds like a lot if you’re not a handy person, but again, I’ve done it. And so can you.
You need to think of this safe space as the place where you are going to be sleeping.
You will be spending a significant amount of time here for the 4th of July.
Bring books; think of books that you’ve wanted to read and order them or check them out from your library. Go to the grocery store or the local convenience store and get some pretty flowers that you’re not allergic to. Get your phone and maybe if you have a speaker, get some music in your room, in your safe space. Go to Target or somewhere around your house and grab a candle and some matches.
Some of you might be saying, “Michelle. I don’t have a safe space. The only space other than my bedroom that has a door is my bathroom.” And to that I say, then go in the bathroom, make your safe space a bathroom.
I understand that sounds a little weird. I get it. But listen, addiction is weird. It’s not normal. It causes us to do crazy, crazy things. Things we never thought we’d do in our life. We find ourselves in those positions.
There’s no shame. There’s no judgment. I think it’s something to be proud of when you are willing to go to such extreme measures and put yourself in these positions to make yourself better and get to a safe space. No matter where you claim it, it takes courage and is something that you should be celebrated for.
If the only space in your house is a bathroom, great. Grab some pillows and throw them in the tub. Grab all of the cushion pillows, make your tub your new couch, your hangout place. You’ve got everything you need.
Grab some snacks, grab some drinks, shut the door, and have yourself a party of one.
If you are in a situation where you have children and can’t all fit in the bathroom comfortably, consider one of the children’s rooms. Make it a game, put on some movies, play video games with your kids for the night, or get some board games. Whatever you need to do.
Tell your kids you’re camping out, put a tent in their bedroom. Make it fun; make it a game. Try and have a good time.
Do not make it dramatic. You are not allowed to go to your loved one and say, guess what I’m doing? I’m setting up a safe space because you’re going to drink too much. No. That’s unproductive.
That’s guilt-tripping them. And that’s setting yourself up for failure. If you do that, they’ll make sure that you don’t have a safe space. They’ll be pounding on your door, wondering where you are and when you’re going to come out. They won’t leave you alone because they realize you’re exercising your right to have power over addiction. And that’s the last thing that they want you to have a right to do.
So get creative with your safe space. That’s option number two, but start planning today. I want you to start thinking about all the wonderful details you can fill your space with. And remember, last week I talked about using all of your senses – your eyes, your smell, your sight, your touch.
Think about how to fulfill all of your senses with things that bring you joy and make you happy.
Lastly, here is your third option. Remember, you’re picking which one sounds best for you.
You can go to a family member’s house and spend the night, or even spend the weekend. You can pack a bag or two with things that you’ll need and will make you happy.
Use your best judgment. If you feel like this weekend is going to be unbearable or if your partner has a history of being physical or abusive when they are drinking or using drugs, the best thing you can do is remove yourself and your minors from the situation.
Say to your loved one, “I love you. And I know this weekend is going to be a doozy. So I’m going to take the kids, and we’re going to head out for the weekend, and you knock yourself out. You have the whole place to yourself. I’m not gonna monitor you, and I’m not going to nag. You go for it. I’ll talk to you on Monday.”
Don’t call and don’t text. Don’t check on them. And most importantly, you have permission to lie about where you’re going.
You don’t need to overexplain. You are a grown adult that can make mature decisions, and you’re the sober one in this relationship.
And you’re wiser and more mature than the one that you love.
Be in charge and ask yourself, which one of these three scenarios make sense for me this 4th of July? Which one sounds right to me?
Now, here’s the deal: I need you to do the work to prepare for it. I need you to do this so that you get a win. So that you can come out on Monday and go damn straight, I did that.
I was proactive, and I was organized, and I was committed, and I didn’t falter. I followed through, and I got great results. And if I can get through this weekend – which I promise you is one of the biggest drinking weekends and partying weekends out there – then you know what else I can do?
You can do anything else because you got through this.
You’re not alone. During this time, there are hundreds of thousands of us out there that are in the exact same position that you are in. We just don’t talk about it.
It’s not something we advertise because there’s a lot of unnecessary shame about this disease. Just know that you are one of the smart ones and that you are one of the survivors.
You are the ones that dare to make a difference in your life.
Your future, if you follow through, is going to be better than you’ve ever imagined because you are willing to make changes.
You are willing to push yourself. You’re willing to step out of your comfort zone. You’re willing to look addiction in the eye and say, “Screw off. Don’t mess with me anymore. You’re not messing with my family anymore. I’m taking back control and taking charge. I’m not some lifeless, helpless little girl.”
I am a woman. Hear me roar. (And if you’re a man, you get what I’m saying).
I’m here to tell you in the loudest, most convicted voice possible that you absolutely can choose one of these choices, follow through and feel better on Monday.
Please share your victory stories with us; we want to hear them. And if you stumble, if you fail momentarily, that’s okay. Give yourself grace, pick yourself back up. This is a learning process. This is an opportunity to grow and then readjust, keep readjusting, be flexible, and forgive yourself.
You’ve got this. I don’t even need to say good luck to you because I know you can do this. This holiday is going to be an opportunity, and it’s going to be a huge triumph. It’s going to be a massive success. You’re going to use this to your advantage, and I cannot wait for you to do that.
If you’re looking for extra support around this upcoming weekend, and let’s be honest: all the weekends to come, holidays or not, consider joining the Love Over Addiction online program.
When you join by July 6th you’ll get these bonuses too:
- The Secret Facebook Group
- A Q&A group call with Michelle
- A free journal and tote bag
If the timing is right and you’re feeling called to join us, please do.
Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.
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