Many of you are dreading the upcoming holiday. And I know that holidays can be a very difficult time . So here are some insights that have helped me make Thanksgiving healthy and happy.

– Manage your expectations (or better yet, just don’t have any). If your child is in active addiction don’t expect them to be present. You will only disappoint yourself if you have that expectation. If they are sober and present TELL THEM! Remind them how enjoyable it is to be around them (when they are sober).

– If you are willing to have them over to your home be cautious of demanding to much of them. They may not show up. And if they do they may not be well. They may be trying hard to NOT use, which would mean they are detoxing. They may lash out, they may be snappy. Remember that it’s not about you and hurt people hurt people.

– Do NOT sit at home and wait for them. Feel sorry for yourself for a few moments and then carry on. Get together with others so that you can enjoy all that this holiday has to offer even without your loved one attending.

– Do not expect your family members to embrace your loved one if they are using and/or treat them with the same love and trust you have for them. Not everyone understands addiction. To expect family members to feel the same way about our loved ones is not fair to them. Don’t run interference for our loved ones and don’t get in the middle of family drama. Sometimes the best thing we can do is allow for the natural consequences of relationship issues and let them work things through themselves.

– Do not sacrifice the rest of your family for your loved one in active addiction. They may or may not show up. And if they do they may not be sober. Take this opportunity to be brave and be strong. Show them that you CAN be healthy in spite of what is going on in your family.

– Do not use the holiday as a forum to get on a soapbox about addiction in this country. This is not the time or place for those kind of conversations (unless you never want to be invited back). Again, show yourself to be strong and brave and ask others how they are doing.

– Don’t expect family to ask you about your child. They don’t really want to know. But if they do ask, just tell them that he/she is struggling right now and you could use their love, support and prayers.

– Take a moment and remember those with an empty chair at their table. Those who have suffered great loss due to the disease and those that have loved ones missing but alive.

– DO surround yourself with healthy people that can offer you support on a day that is sure to be difficult. Be around family and friends who love and appreciate you.

– Use the holiday as an opportunity to give back and serve others. It will always make you feel better!

– Remember that joy is a choice that comes from gratitude. Focus on those things that you have to be grateful for. We live in a country of abundance. Most of us have supportive people in our lives. Look for the little things to give thanks for.

I hope and pray that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Copyright @ 2016 Pam Jones Lanhart