We decorate, we bake, we shop, we wrap, we sing carols, we host our family parties, and we may attend church services. We celebrate this wonderful season, both spiritually and secularly. But, sometimes everything is not quite as sparkly, festive or serene as it appears. Why? Because someone we love is not healthy because of drug, alcohol and/or behavioral problems.
As we are all well aware, the problems do not magically disappear because it is holiday time. Many times, in fact, usage is intensified at this time of year. Often, a hole in our hearts is created because of our loved ones absence or perhaps from our worry of how they will act if and when we do spend time with them.
The gift of peace that is offered at Christmas can be a reality in each of our lives, not only at this time of year, but throughout the entire year. A free 12-step program called Families Anonymous
strengthens us so that we can attain that peace. FA is a wonderful support group that encourages and sustains those who have family members who suffer from drug, alcohol and/or behavioral problems. This incredible program teaches us that we are powerless over anyone else’s life except for our own.
We learn to change our negatives to positives, act not react, realize that it is ok to say no and set limitations of what we will and will not accept. Being on guard, obsessing about other’s choices or being broken-hearted and losing sleep because of the emptiness and heartache we feel inside does nothing to make us feel better. Realizing that each of us is responsible for our own happiness is a wide-eyed discovery.
We encourage you to attend a few meetings of Families Anonymous so that you can really understand and accept that peace can actually be attained on a daily basis, no matter how difficult the situation with your loved one may be. We can live, we can love, and we can have freedom from continuous, unproductive fear and worry in spite of unresolved problems. We learn that we didn’t cause someone else’s destructive behavior, we sure can’t control another’s actions, nor can we cure their abuse, addiction or behavior. However, we can learn to cope. With coping comes peace. Peace is a gift we can give to ourselves everyday – if we so choose.
Families Anonymous meeting days and times are as follows: Mondays at 7:30 pm in Pepper Pike at Garfield Memorial Church, 3650 Lander Road; Tuesdays at 7:00 pm in Mentor at United Methodist Church, 8600 Mentor Avenue; Thursdays at 7:00 pm in Avon at Hope Christian Church, 32575 Detroit Road; Thursdays at 7:30 pm in Euclid at East Shore United Methodist Church, 23002 Lakeshore Blvd; Thursdays at 7:30 pm in Medina at Holy Martyrs Church, 3100 S. Weymouth Road; Fridays at 7:30 pm in North Royalton at United Methodist Church, 13601 Ridge Road; Sundays at 2:45 pm in Willowick at Shoregate United Methodist Church, 30500 Bayridge; and Sundays at 4:00 pm in Middleburg Hts. At Oakview Rehabilitation Center, 18697 Bagley Road.
Our website is www.familiesanonymous.org. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call our Cleveland Helpline at 440-779-HELP (4357).
Please know that Families Anonymous honestly helps to restore sanity, offers comfort and brings stability back into our lives. Even if the ones we love do not seek recovery, we still can. Our recovery stops that hole in our hearts from getting larger, allows us to focus on one day at a time, and ultimately regain some serenity so that we can function on a much healthier and normal basis. Hope is available. Let us think about giving ourselves a much-needed gift – a gift that will last much longer than any holiday cookies or store bought gifts – that is a gift of peace.