We had the chance to reach out to the team at Clarity Family Consulting to ask about how they approach seeking addiction treatment during the holidays. A lot of families are uncertain about how loved ones may be affected by being away during this time, and they have some great advice to consider.
JourneyPure: What advice do you have for families if they suspect drug/alcohol abuse of a loved one?
Clarity Family Consulting: Don’t excuse the loved one’s behavior. If you think something is off, take action. The action taken – have a loving conversation with the family member, and ask if they are struggling. Have a conversation about their concerns, and ask if they are agreeable to get help or have an assessment to see what’s really going on. If it’s met with resistance, and the loved one doesn’t want any part in the conversation. Then the family may need to get a professional involved.
JourneyPure: If someone shows up to a family gathering inebriated, how might you know if they are in need of professional help?
Clarity Family Consulting: Starting a dialogue with the loved one, and have an open and honest conversation about where they are at and what’s going on to determine what the next course of action should be.
JourneyPure: How could a family member know when to seek help from an interventionist?
Clarity Family Consulting: When all of the above has not worked, and the loved one is not receptive to the conversation they have tried to have and the loved one becomes angry, defensive, blaming, dishonest then the conversation has been exhausted. A clinical interventionist will need to be involved to guide the family and help the loved one come to terms with receiving treatment.
JourneyPure: What are some signs or key indicators a family member might notice when a loved one is actively using?
Clarity Family Consulting: Family members will notice the loved one pulling away, physically and emotionally. Addiction is an isolating disease, and the loved one may not have any healthy/positive relationships in their life. Other indicators would include: showing up late, or not showing up at all to family gatherings, asking for money, lying about insignificant situations, manipulating others to get what he/she wants, mood swings, and behavior changes. The loved one may smell like alcohol, nod off like they are falling asleep, have an unordinary amount of energy, and they may go to the bathroom or leave the room often and nobody seems to know where they have gone.
Behavior changes may look like: irritable, anxious, nervous, worrisome, frustration, argumentative, feeling like they need to leave as soon as they arrive, sleeping a lot or not sleeping enough.
JourneyPure: With the holidays rapidly approaching, families may wonder if sending a loved one to treatment over the holidays is a good idea. Do you have thoughts on timing?
Clarity Family Consulting: There is never a good time for treatment. During the holidays is when families come together, and more behaviors are noticed from the loved one. The loved one can be safe and sober in a treatment facility or continue to use because the family wants them there for the holidays.
If the loved one is in treatment for this holiday season then there will be many more holidays. To quote Dave Eichhorn, “Holidays for an alcoholic or addict are just another day in paradise because they don’t share the same importance other family members due to the addiction taking the loved one out of reality.” We would ask the family how other holidays have been in past with their loved one?
JourneyPure: What words of encouragement or comfort might you have for someone who planning to be away from family to receive treatment over the holidays?
Clarity Family Consulting: There will be more holidays to come.
It will be a long hard fight to get back to a healthy place to be able to show up to family gatherings in the healthiest way possible. Your family will support you throughout this process while you find your recovery. If you didn’t go in, what would the holidays look like for you and your family? More pain, hurt and discomfort for everyone.
JourneyPure: What tips do you have for those in early recovery for handling the holidays as alcohol typically plays a large role in holiday gatherings?
Clarity Family Consulting: Don’t ever get trapped in a situation where drinking is involved, and have a plan to be able to leave when you want to leave. Attend more meetings, stay in contact with your sponsor more and discuss the departure plan with your sponsor. Attend sober functions during the holidays to get extra support and know you are not alone with holiday stress.
JourneyPure: Family stress is noted as being higher around the holidays. What coping strategies do you have for those in recovery?
Clarity Family Consulting: Make sure you have a plan in place prior to any functions, don’t feed into negative talk, attend more meetings than usual, connect more with your sponsor, and stay open and honest about what is going on. Stay connected with sober friends in the program. Always have a plan B if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation with your family during the holidays.
About Clarity Family Consulting
Clarity Family Consulting is a premier family consulting firm based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with locations in Austin, Texas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Charlotte, North Carolina. They serve individuals and families suffering from Substance Use Disorders, Mental Health Disorders and Dual Diagnosis. Services include Primary Treatment Placement, Extended Care Treatment Placement, Case Management, Clinical Intervention, Therapeutic Transport, and Sober Companions.
JourneyPure is a behavioral healthcare company with facilities located across the southeast aimed at setting the standard in addiction treatment. We provide real solutions to the addiction epidemic by deploying systems of care to communities with the greatest need. The River is one of our locations.
*This blog post is part of a series where JourneyPure is interviewing trusted, well-respected industry peers to help provide families and patients realize all options when it comes to drug and alcohol treatment. We do not accept any fees for referrals and we are not officially endorsed or employed by anyone we interview.
From the JourneyPure team where we get to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. With years of experience working alongside those suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues, we bring important messages with unparalleled knowledge of addiction, mental health problems, and the issues they cause.