Nathan's Blog-christmas time
Christmas is upon us once again. As we enter the so called ‘festive season,’ workplaces
wind down, barbeques are fired up, and parties are thrown. And in these convivial
settings, families are expected to come together to celebrate, and alcohol consumption
increases markedly. We all know that as a nation we drink heavily at this time of the
year and this is reflected in supermarket chain wine and beer sales, and an increased
presence of responsible drinking propaganda in the media. Turn the television on
tonight and you’re sure to be informed on a raft of responsible behaviours around the
imbibing of alcohol. You can be a legend and stop your loved one’s drink-driving right?
(Because once they’re dead, you can’t eat their ghost chips bro!) According to the telly
you can also reason with your loved ones to be responsible in their drinking habits, (no
more Beersies for you), or drink ‘Not Beersies’ (water brewed by clouds). But those of us
with family members who struggle with addictions to alcohol and other drugs know that
terms such as moderation and responsibility aren’t really in their vocabularies, (except
perhaps in the form of best intentions gone awry courtesy of their addictive behaviours).
And so these social settings, lubricated as they are with alcohol and other drugs, can
become times of intense pressure and anxiety for family members worried about their
loved one drinking and drugging too much. If you’re reading this chances are you’re
already well aware of just how quickly a loved one’s excessive alcohol and drug
consumption can hijack what began as a celebratory family gathering and render it into
an episode of bad behaviour, fighting, foolishness, and falls. And even if the above
scenario sounds all too depressingly familiar to you, there is often still the need to
carefully manage expectations towards family at this time of year. Through a sustained
campaign of what I term ‘commercial-mas-marketing,’ families are told over and over
again that this is the season to be jolly. If your family isn’t having a good time then
something must be wrong a subliminal barrage of seasonal brainwashing informs us.
Here’s the thing though, if your loved one has an alcohol or drug addiction, then
something is wrong, and it’s not your responsibility to make it right. This Christmas, look
after your own welfare. You’re not obliged to expose yourself to the embarrassment and
shame of seeing your loved one get blotto and behave badly. You can chose to avoid
distressing family gatherings and do something else, something fun, something for you
and other members of your family to enjoy!