New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a New Year, time to be resolute about treatment!

Greetings. We take a break from the 12 promises series to bring you the final seasonally themed article. We will resume with the 12 promises in January, with the 10th promise, and wrap up that series at the beginning of 2014. This month we look at making the decision to do something about a loved one’s drug or alcohol problem as we move into the New Year.

As most of us normally do around this time of year, we take a look back and marvel at how quickly another year has come and gone. For many, that means a cherished look back on good times, new memories, new people and even maybe something we are happy to be putting in the rearview mirror as we move on. But alas, the New Year also has a way of shinning its glitter-filled light on some of the things we put off for yet another year. That diet, saving some more money, going on more trips, you name it. Well, for many families, taking the steps to get a loved one into treatment is one of those things that seems to fall way down the “to do list” every year. Today we will examine this and look at some ways of thinking that can help facilitate change and maybe, just maybe ready you to take that next step.

Unfortunately, with all the great things that come this time of year, the holiday season also provides us with some built-in excuses to not take some actions that may be painful or difficult for the family to take. If someone in your family needs treatment, it is so seemingly convenient to put it off until after the holiday season. “We don’t want JR. to miss the family event”, “It might be grandma’s last Christmas”, “Maybe being around the family will help Suzy change”, all excuses(as well-intentioned as they may be)that don’t address the problem. The issue would not be so bad if people were actually putting Billy or Suzy in treatment on Dec. 26th, but remember(and you may not need me to tell you this)putting a loved in one treatment is a hard ordeal emotionally on the family. Because of this, when your loved one actually does show up and participate in the family holiday, it is easy to forget the pain of last week(day, year, decade, etc)and give them a clean slate. Then the worst of all deception, the New Year’s Resolutions, settles in.

Like most New Years’ Resolutions, the idea that an addict or alcoholic will be able to change their problem by simply “resolving to do better and stay clean” is a farce. Again, it may be and probably is well-intentioned but addiction and/or alcoholism is an illness. It makes as much sense as saying “this New Year, I will do away with my diabetes”. It is great to have a positive way of thinking, but unless someone gets help for what ails them, this will only lead to more frustration for you and them. I encouraged you to seek professional treatment immediately. Even a day more can make a huge difference for you and your loved one!

Remember this: There is virtually zero evidence of an addict or alcoholic, or even anyone with that potential, getting better without professional help. It just doesn’t happen. If we had a magic wand, people would only have these issue from March to October (well, if I had a magic wand, nobody would have this problem but you get the point)but reality is that once you identify a potential problem in a loved one, action needs to be taken immediately to get them the help they need. One New Year or one family gathering sacrificed may net you years more of great memories with your loved one. Keep your focus on that and pick up the phone to call for help now.

Wishing you a safe and sober and wonderful 2014!

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