You can have happy holidays even when your loved one is drinking

Life is never easy when you have an alcoholic loved one, but the holidays can bring on additional stress, anxiety, and sadness. Al‑Anon Family Groups offers families of problem drinkers a place to go for support – even during the holidays. Many meetings keep their regular meeting times even on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This interview was recorded at the 2018 Al‑Anon International Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Members were asked to share about various aspects of the Al‑Anon program and their personal experience.

Members’ anonymity is protected so that they can share openly and honestly about their experience with a loved one’s drinking and with the Al‑Anon program.

The opinions expressed in this video were strictly those of the person who gave them.

Video Transcript

You can have happy holidays even when your loved one is drinking

INTERVIEWER: Trisha, can you give us a little bit of insight into what holidays are like in an alcoholic home?

TRISHA: I can. I grew up in an alcoholic home. At the time, I would not have said that that’s what was happening; but we would wait for my dad to get home to have dinner. And that could sometimes be late. And I’m one of eight children so that would be a big waiting game for all of us kids. And then the holidays were a time for us where we didn’t really know what was going to happen. Because it could be a really happy holiday and everybody’s happy, or if there’s something that goes wrong—and it could’ve easily been my mother that got mad at something that my dad did—then there would be tension and everybody would be waiting for the explosion.

That didn’t change when I grew up and got married. The holidays were very stressful for me because when I was married to an active alcoholic there were a lot of money problems and there was always that tension of what was going to happen next?

What I discovered in going to Al‑Anon, is that the alcoholic situation doesn’t always get better. There are relatives that I’m still around today that’s what they do is they drink, and they haven’t chosen sobriety. I’m lucky that my husband is sober today, so that makes the home life a whole lot better. But what I have today, is that the tools that Al‑Anon has taught me, is that I can have another plan. That my happiness, in that event, doesn’t have to be waiting for the other person to behave themselves.