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As the year draws to a close, not only do people look forward to the holidays, but they also look back on what happened during the year and make plans for the New Year. For families that suffer from addiction this can be both a difficult time and a time full of hope.

The difficulty comes when you have lost a loved one due to addiction; the holidays seem to magnify the loss since the focus is on family. It can also be difficult if you have a loved one that you haven’t been in contact with for a while; not knowing where they are or having a way to get in touch with them, not knowing if they’re okay or if they need help…it can be devastating! How can you be happy and festive when you don’t know if your family member is alive or dead? How can you focus on spending time with family and friends when one of your family members isn’t there?

Trying to deal with these thoughts while remaining in the holiday spirit can be overwhelming and it is completely understandable if you’d just like to skip the holidays altogether, but as I mentioned at the top of the article this is also a time of hope…

Since the holidays are so focused on family, this may be the best time to try and reach out to your loved one and have them be receptive to your offer of help. Keep in mind that they could be missing you just as much as you’re missing them, so the thought of being home for the holidays could be very impactful. Just knowing that they’re on your mind at this time of year could be the extra incentive they need to finally get help!

It’s also a time of hope because it is a chance for a fresh start. With the New Year, you have a chance to start over, reset your life so to speak, and that is a very powerful feeling. For the person with the addiction it is a chance to accept or seek help, and for the family it is a chance to focus on themselves and their own recovery. 2015 may have been a horrible year, but 2016 offers the possibility for a positive change so how could you not feel hopeful about that?

When you’re dealing with addiction, it’s so easy to feel hopeless, like things are never going to change and your life is never going to get better. In some cases it may be easier to have this outlook because life has been bad for so long that the prospect of it changing seems out of the realm of possibility. I understand that thought process; I’ve been there, I lived it for many years when my family members were in active addition and it made me absolutely miserable.

What I am here to tell you is that you are not wrong for having those feelings; they are perfectly normal and no one should make you feel guilty for having them. Having said that though, it’s important not to let those feelings take over and keep you in a state of constant hopelessness. Having that type of mindset is not healthy for your loved one and it is not healthy for you.

As long as your family member is alive, there is always hope that they will accept help in getting to and staying in long term recovery. The holidays are the perfect time to share that hope because recovery is the gift that keeps giving long after the holidays have passed!

 Nadine Herring is a social media virtual assistant and owner of Virtually Nadine, an online administrative support company. She is also a blogger that specializes in writing about addiction from the family perspective and community building & organizing. She is a family addiction advocate, community activist, Boston Celtics fan, runner, and owner of a small animal kingdom consisting of 2 dogs and 3 cats (all rescues).

Connect with me on LinkedInGoogle+TwitterPinterest, or my website

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