Not Having My Child Home For The Holidays

Not having a child home for the holidays because they are in drug treatment is bittersweet. Focusing on the positive helps get through this tough time.

For most people, the holidays are a time to spend with family. But addiction is a disease that strikes no matter what time of year, and the holidays are not immune. Many people seek help around the holiday season, and end up spending Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years or all of the above in a treatment center.

As a parent, there is nothing harder than being away from your child. And being away from your child during this special time of year, when you are supposed to be celebrating together as a family, can be especially challenging.

 

A PARENT’S EXPERIENCE

 

While I don’t have any children of my own, I have been on the other side of the coin. I have spent 2 holiday seasons away from my family while attempting to get sober. And while it was certainly hard for me, I know it was hard on my parents as well.

I recently spoke to my father about this. My father was a witness to all of my struggles in active addiction and has been one of my strongest supporters in sobriety. This is what he had to say:

“My eldest daughter recently asked me what it was like to have a child in treatment during the holidays, and if that experience has somehow changed how I feel about the holidays now that she is sober. The truth of the matter is that having a child in treatment, irrespective of the season, is in my experience a double-edged sword. You are terrified and worried by the mere fact that your child requires treatment, while at the same time assured and relieved that they are in a safe and supportive environment receiving the help you are so grateful they are willing and able to receive.

Like so many other things, feelings of thankfulness, gratitude, sorrow and loss are amplified during the holidays. Having lived through the absence of a child during the Holidays due to treatment, I am reminded to count my blessings and to hold in our thoughts those, and the families of those, who were not so fortunate and tragically succumbed to this insidious disease that we are all, one way or another, affected by and connected to. I, for one, am eternally grateful and indebted to those who selflessly devoted themselves to guiding my child, as well as the children of countless other parents, out of the darkness and hopelessness so often associated with substance abuse and addiction.”

 

CHANGING YOUR PERSPECTIVE

 

If you are struggling with the fact that your child is going to be in treatment for the holidays, it can be helpful to change your perspective on the matter. Instead of focusing on the fact that they will not be with you to celebrate the holidays, try to focus on the fact that they are in treatment doing their best to get well, which will enable them to be present and sober for the holidays in the future.

 

3 Comments
  • Theresa Zaludek
    Posted at 06:47h, 12 December Reply

    When my son was in rehab for the holidays, I was so very sad. Until, a counselor said to me, “He may not be with you this holiday, but if he doesn’t get help, he will likely not be with you for any more holidays.” It changed my way of thinking completely!!! To all families who sad that their family member is away, think about the long term of success, and most importantly they are safe and not using at this holiday season. Look at the bigger picture of all the Happy, Healthy holidays to come.

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