The challenges facing the addict during the holiday season are debilitating and often life-threatening. But the scenario a co-addict paints in their disaster-driven mind takes family holiday stress to a new level.

By the time the holidays arrive, co-addicts lack the energy to do one more thing. We’ve exhausted the list for excusing the bad behavior of our loved one. We finally admit we don’t have the power to control everything.  We pray no one else will notice the out-of-control craziness. Lucky for us Denial always finds a seat at the family table.

Co-addicts like myself believe it is up to us—and us alone—to direct the drama. As hard as we try, we cannot save Christmas. We cannot provide Peace on Earth. We have to turn it over to a Power greater than ourselves.

To find peace in facing emotional triggers from holidays past the addict, must have a list. They have to continue to attend meetings. They also have to be sure their support system is in place.

Similarly, the codependent list has to include time for support meetings. The following is the beginning of a self-care list for enablers.

  1. Accept your limits—set boundaries.

  2. Attend 12-Step or other support group meetings.

  3. Allow time for yourself to be yourself.

  4. Acknowledge the role your Higher Power has in your life.

  5. Act out each day, one day at a time.

This coming week, what will you add to your list that will calm you down and build you up? Would you like to share your tips with the rest of us on how to handle the holidays with hope and inner peace?


God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears (Psalm 34:4MSG).