I wrote this about the Christmas of 2006: My family knows well the Hell of addiction, but we know only our own Hell. Those who love addicts suffer. The addict suffers. No one is immune. In our family, we each handled our grief differently. Jeremy held things inside, caught in that gap between loving his brother and hiding the truth and loving his brother and telling the truth. Tim and I suffered and responded in our own divergent ways. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, no one knew what to do. During the Christmas of 2006, when neither son came home for our large Italian family gatherings, my brothers didn’t know what to say. They didn’t even know whether to invite me to the festivities. The cousins were confused; could they ask about Jeff or would it be kinder to leave him out of the conversation?
My reflection: The holidays put the addict on center stage when the accumulated chaos of his or her life, and ours, causes excruciating public pain. It is during these family gatherings of joy that addiction often taunts and mocks us the loudest.
Today’s Promise to consider: During the holidays, addiction can severely isolate us, making us feel ashamed of all the ways our lives are not as joyful as they’re supposed to be. I will avoid this dangerous place by being patient and compassionate with myself and my loved one. I will find my serenity in honesty and prayer. I will not allow addiction to rob us of our peace.