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“I Can’t Deal With Them! Do I Love Holidays or What!”

BALM | December 3, 2016

By Edward Brazell of The Silent Epidemic

We all have expectations for the holidays. We want everything to go right, be fun, but the reality for some is that it’s a sad time of the year. Stress, fear and sadness come from many directions. It can be from over committing, trying to make everything perfect or loneliness. But for most of us it has to do with our daily struggle with addiction.

We’re not alone. There are many that struggle even the ones that fake their way through it. When we see all those cheerful people in the malls looking all happy, you’d be surprised how many actually feel blue. They just don’t want to be honest and show their true feelings.  Everyone has to deal with the crazy relatives, parties you don’t want to be at or the long lines at the stores. Why do you think they call it: “Surviving the holidays”?

Another reason for the feeling to even be worse is because everyone (and us) expects us to be happy during this season even when we do have a reason to feel blue. Be genuine about how you’re feeling.  Acknowledge your feeling. There is nothing wrong with that. There are things that we can do to lessen the pain.

• Do not fight the feeling. Suppressing emotions isn’t healthy. Give these emotions time to be felt.
• Don’t focus on what could have been.
• Take a moment to catch your breath.
• Start a new tradition. Grab the family and do a vacation. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just get away in the car.
• If you’re not comfortable be honest and let them know “I’m not feeling up to this right now”.
• Organize a gift drive, work a soup kitchen.
• Do something for yourself. Doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s special.
• Don’t live in those feelings. It’s OK to acknowledge the feelings but living in them day after day will cause deep depression. Go for a walk. Exercise is a great stress reliever.

For those that have lost a loved one this is especially a hard time.

1. Take time to grieve.
2. Find ways to honor the person you miss.
3. Bring out the photos and reminisce. It won’t be easy, but it will make you feel better talking about your loved one.
4. Reach out to others in support groups.For those that are going to be talking to folks that have lost a loved one.

• Don’t run from them. I’m serious, not talking to them is hard and they can tell when you’re avoiding them. I understand you’re afraid of saying something that will upset them, but don’t let that stop you. If you want something to talk to them about then talk about their loved one. Cherished moments that you or someone you know has had with them.  Remember running from them can be very hurtful.

• Sometimes not saying anything and just offering them a hug. Ask them if they would like to go for a walk. Let them lead the conversation. Often the best thing we can give a grieving person is the freedom to speak freely.

If your loved one is still in the grips on addiction, then please let them know that you love them. The words ‘I love you’ mean so much to them. They might not show it, but it does. My son reminds me often that he remembers me showing unconditional love. No strings attached love!

Ed Brazell runs the FaceBook page Addiction Really. He advocates for addicts and families, helping people find treatment and get help. Visit his page and join his group.