If you have young children (or grandchildren) this time of year can be particularly joyful. It’s an opportunity to start and pass along family traditions, spend time together and have some fun in the snow. It is a time when a lot of workplaces wind down (unless you work retail of course) and, as the last ten days have shown, it is a time when a lot of people make an extra effort to help others and contribute to a better community. What is there not to like about December?
Well, for many people on the receiving end of good will and charity, or those who are largely invisible in our community, like the homeless and those who are struggling with addiction, December is one of the worst times of year. December 25th in particular looms large as a reminder of broken families and relationships.
“We spend a lot of time getting people ready for Christmas,” Rick, a staff person in House of Friendship’s men’s addiction program told a group of us recently. “The guys get themselves mentally prepared for the loneliness and the bad memories and we make ourselves available over the holidays to support them. But, in the new year, is when it hits the hardest.” This is a common experience for the staff in all of our addiction programs for men and women.
What can an individual do to build a sense of hope in people who are feeling like recovery might not be possible and that they may never be able to heal the damage that has shaken their families apart?