How to Properly Handle a Holiday Guest Who Suffers From Alcoholism or Addiction

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the insanity known as family. As much as we love them and cherish the times we get to spend with them, it is sometimes difficult to handle loved ones especially those who suffer from alcoholism or addiction. If you’re hosting someone who does suffer from alcoholism or addiction, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Set expectations before the visit or event.

Let your guest know that while staying in your home, there will be rules that everyone must follow. If they don’t, they will be asked to leave. Anita Gadhia-Smith, a psychotherapist from D.C. and Maryland says, “You don’t have to host people who are alcoholics or drug addicts just to be polite or people-please.”

  1. Express the importance of safety

If your guest drinks excessively or abuses drugs, let it be known right away that you will not put up with that kind of behavior. Do not let your guest(s) drive, arrange for a taxi to take them to a hotel if necessary.

  1. Rid your home of alcohol and prescription drugs.

Hide your contents in a locked boxed placed outside of plain view. You may also wish to keep your contents with a friend until your guest leaves. Come up with creative ways to pass the time…not every activity needs alcohol.

  1. Set specific times

Instead of serving alcoholic drinks during cocktail hour at your holiday party, offer nonalcoholic drinks and snacks. This will make it harder for them to indulge.

  1. Consider hosting at a venue

You may want to consider gathering at a restaurant, or any other public place. This allows your guests the opportunity to leave at any time. “Sometimes things start out great and deteriorate quickly,” Gadhia-Smith says.

  1. Always show support

You love them…so of course you want them to seek help if they need it. Starting a simple conversation may make all the difference. Expressing the importance of seeking help when they need it is a start. If you feel an intervention is necessary, some experts say it might be beneficial. It is always a smart idea to consult a mental health professional, and more specifically a mental health professional who specializes in addiction.
We hope this helps you get through to your loved one!


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