I’ll be the first to say that drug addiction, mental disorders, & family dysfunction are not laughing matters.
However, if you don’t find some sort of humor in dealing with your insane kinfolk, eventually you’ll implode.
We all know that the holidays are awkward enough for some families, but they can be unbearable when you’re forced to share the greens, beans, potatoes, & tomatoes with an active drug addict. Just in case I’m not the only one who’s had their relative’s probation officer on speed dial during Christmas prayer:
I’ve listed a few tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Crazy…
Stay Calm and Keep Breathing.
Going into any situation with that ‘ticking time bomb’ of a relative can be nerve-racking. The key to avoid losing your shit is to just breathe. I usually go into family functions prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. A little bit of optimism and white wine can go a long way.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake.
I’ve discovered that the right amount of alcohol can save lives. The perfect intake amount is different for everyone, but trust me, you’ll know once you find it. A little bit of wine relaxes me enough to stop pacing on the front porch, but leaves me alert enough to recognize when something’s about to go down.
Have Back-Up Plans.
If you’ve ever suffered through an explosive family function, you’ll know the importance of having back-up plans. You should always give a soft RSVP to another holiday dinner just in case some eggnog related violence pops off.
Also Have an Evacuation Route.
Having a planned escape route is a KEY element to surviving your family’s potential shenanigans. Three non-negotiable parts to your holiday escape plan should be:
- Identifying the nearest exit and maintain a clear escape path.
- Never let anyone block you in the driveway. Always park your car in a place that gives you direct access to the road.
- Keep your car keys on your person at all times. This is NOT the time or place that you want to be caught slipping—ALWAYS be prepared to run.
Don’t Bring Your Bling.
Family get-togethers with an unstable addict are NOT the place to show off fancy belongings. If you MUST bring anything besides your phone and keys, be sure to secure them. Most families who deal with an active addict have at least one bathroom/bedroom that remains locked during family events. Why is this room locked you ask?? Well the condensed answer is to hide jewelry, weapons, pain killers or any items that could be pawned or used to make meth. THIS is the room where you want to place your purse or charge your phone; however I strongly recommend keeping your belongings nearby in case you need to escape quickly.
Be as Compassionate as Possible…Or at least Pretend to be.
—Now this is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. As much as I want to slap my unstable relative and everyone else in the room for enabling them; Christmas morning is NOT the time for an intervention or an assault charge. At the end of the day while this person might be a hot-mess; they’re still a human…and a human from your gene pool nonetheless.
So prepare that Oscar’s acceptance speech, channel your inner Viola Davis, and act as happy /accommodating as possible. Remember, it’s only one day out of the year; you can totally survive this if you prepare accordingly and BREATHE.