Sad Holidays?

Labrador puppy looking up tangled up in Chirstmas lights.

The holidays are a particularly stressful time when there’s an alcoholic in the family. Gatherings prompt more worry than merry, wondering if the seasons celebrations will trigger bad behavior.

Having experienced some unhappy holidays with my late husband, I speak from experience. Loved ones of alcoholics often get lost in the holidays, trying to hold things together and keep up appearances. For you dear ones out there dealing with an excessive and compulsive drinker, a few thoughts:

  • Be realistic. The alcoholic isn’t going to suddenly sober up—despite promises—just because it’s Christmas or Hanukkah. Manage your expectations.
  • Willing yourself to feel the spirit of the season, you may find yourself overlooking bad behaviors.  Please don’t. We all know there’s no excuse—including the holidays—for alcoholism and all its ugly tentacles.
  • Do what you can to have the best holiday possible. If the alcoholic chooses not to attend a family function or a friend’s party, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go.
  • Always remember, you can’t control the alcoholic, and what he/she does is not your fault.

Please find some joy in your days. Take care of your health. Be kind to yourself. Make a note on your To-Do list: “do something for myself” – and do it.

Wishing you health and happiness, peace and joy—you deserve it! Be well!


2 Responses to “Sad Holidays?”

  1. PaulaGanziLicata

    Dear Paula,

    I am so sorry for your loss and what you and your family have been through. Please know you’re not alone, there are a lot of ‘us’ out there–widows who lost their husbands long ago to a never ending drink. Our widow experience is different.

    Please take care of yourself. Keep your family and friends close, let them help you. Try to find a little joy in each day. Often the focus is on the alcoholic and the loved one is forgotten. Be mindful of what you need emotionally, physically and spiritually — and be good to yourself.

    May you find comfort in your memories. Wishing you peace and happiness, you deserve it.


  2. Paula

    My husband died, we think died on 12/25/20. I left to go out of town to our families for the holidays the morning of 12/24 (I often attended holidays and spent weekends with family, alone). He seemed fine, like usual, although he was getting more loopy and forgetful. He spoke to me – everything seems normal when I left to celebrate Christmas. On my way home, I called him, like usual he didn’t answer, but he did call back later in the day to see what I wanted (and talked to my youngest son). I sent a text back saying I ordered his parents some holiday flowers since I knew we had no gift for them. He replied, “thank you for doing that”. I went about holiday prep at my Dad’s and was getting ready for our side of the family’s celebration on evening of 12/26. My oldest son stopped by our house, (he was on his way out of town to be with all of us), to give his Dad his Christmas gift and found him dead. It was a nightmare. The day we dreaded, yet knew was going to happen…happened. The EMT’s said he was probably dead 24 hours when they found him. He was alone, had been the liquor store on 12/24, he was sitting on the couch, in his man cave, and looked as though he just fell asleep. We buried his ashes last Saturday – everything seems so unreal, so many feelings of sadness, anger, bewilderment, numbness…hoping to help my two sons who had to deal with a Dad who loved them very much, understand that he would want them to live the best life they can, and not choose the path he did…he was a good Dad when the bottle and depression were at bay. Now we got to figure out how to move forward.


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