Did you get through the Thanksgiving holiday with your sanity intact? When someone has an addiction in the family, holidays can be a challenge. Family gatherings can trigger some really deep emotional issues that drudge up the past. Instead a cheerful, holiday spirit–depression can consume people at Christmas time–and people will turn to their addictions to medicate the pain of those past memories. If the addiction is porn (sexual addiction), you may notice that your partner is more disconnected than usual–checked out, as if he (or she) was in a world all their own.
It’s frustrating to be sure–because the holidays are when we all want to experience joy and connection. We long for a sense of belonging and family fulfillment. But more often than not, (when addiction is present) we get exactly the opposite. As partners, we work so hard to make everything be perfect. We want to make sure to handle all the problems and manage the conflict, but it never works, does it?
One way to stay sane during the holidays if there is an addict in your life, is to ask yourself, “What do I need?” and “How can I value myself?” When you connect with what your needs are and take action steps to getting those needs met, (instead of trying to extract your value from others) you may begin to take back some control. When needs continually go unmet (while you are trying to meet everyone else’s needs) there is a vacancy that takes over within. No matter how much you meet other’s needs and try to keep everyone happy–you will notice that it does not necessarily make that vacancy go away.
I would like to challenge you to look inward at this time. What do you need? And what can you do to value yourself? Where have you been finding your significance?
Years ago when I was asked these very same questions, I began to recover myself. It was the beginning of coming face-to-face with my own need to address the issues in my life that kept me invested in the relationship with an addict. It is a good place to start, share with me what you need.