Candace Plattor

Holidays are tough for addicts and their families

Therapist-turned-author Candace Plattor offers tips for families at Christmas

Christmas is “probably the worst time of year” for people with an addict in their life, therapist and author Candace Plattor says.

“Loved ones have a recollection of what the addict was like before the addiction took hold,” she says. “What they want more than anything is to have them (the addict) be the way they used to be.”

But hope alone is not enough, says Plattor, author of Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction.

Spouses, relatives and friends of addicts have to set boundaries if they want to avoid having their holiday disrupted, she says.

Plattor advises telling the alcoholic or drug addict to arrive at the Christmas dinner, party or family get-together clean – and stay that way.

She suggests that hosts says: “During the few hours that you’re with us, you need to be straight and sober.”

And if the addict refuses, tell him or her not to bother dropping by.

“Addiction is not an excuse for bad behaviour,” Plattor says.

The ultimatum doesn’t have to be angry or confrontational, she says.

Simply state, in a matter-of-fact way, “this is what we require,” Plattor suggests. And if the addict balks, say “we’ll miss you, but don’t come.” And mean it.

This kind of discussion needs to happen well in advance of Christmas dinner or any other holiday-related event, Platter stresses.

People who are in the grips of an addiction need to understand that they cannot expect to be treated they way they were before the drugs or drinking got out of hand, Plattor says.

“They need to earn their way back.”

Plattor has given free workshops in White Rock on dealing with addiction in other people for Sources counseling and addiction services and the City of Surrey.

During 16 years of treating people for substance abuse and compulsive behaviors in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Plattor says, she came to firmly believe that spouses, relatives and friends of addicts are in just as much need of help.

By the time they contact a therapist, she says loved ones have often invested a lot of energy, time and money in a frustrating battle to get the other person to change.

All too often, what they’re doing isn’t helping.

Plattor says breaking the addiction to the addict’s problems requires recognizing that you can’t help another person if he or she isn’t ready to be helped and you are unable to look after your own needs, she says.

For more information about Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction visit www.candaceplattor.com

Just Posted

Pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle in Surrey

Investigators were asking anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward

PHOTOS: Terry Fox Run held in South Surrey

Annual event took place at South Surrey Athletic Park

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer makes stop in South Surrey

Scheer announces promise of new tax cut

5,000 ducks race at Surrey beach

‘Ducktona’ event raises funds for Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 5

Developer looks to build 25-storey office tower by Surrey mall

Proposed for site of former Best Buy store

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle in Surrey

Investigators were asking anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Most Read