How to avoid drunkards over X-mas
My family is Mennonite so fortunately the eggnog is always virgin. This is for the many who aren't so lucky.
Not all of us live in the idealized world depicted in shows from the 1950s or Normal Rockwell paintings. During the Christmas season, commercials bombard us with images of happy, shiny people beaming with pride and family unity.
In reality, the vast majority of us have family members or relatives who make us cringe.
We dread their arrival at our holiday dinners or special events since they are often intoxicated as they make rude comments, have angry outbursts, and then bumble around the room accidentally wrecking our belongings.
A helpful emergency coding system:
Code Green: Uncle Joe is nowhere to be found and does not look like he will be attending the family Christmas this year.
Code Blue: One of the family members spoke with Uncle Joe and he is alive.
Code Yellow: Another one of the family members spoke with Uncle Joe and he is asking what the rest of us are doing for Christmas.
Code Orange: Uncle Joe now knows the date and time for dinner and will be arriving with his latest girlfriend. Christmas is becoming a dreaded event. Family members furiously call each other. Resentments are formed towards the family member who divulged where Christmas dinner will be held.
Code Red: Uncle Joe has arrived with a smile on his face and a bottle of whiskey in his hands. He plants a slobbery kiss on each person he encounters. After an hour, Uncle Joe is bragging about how he can "take on" anybody in a fight. Before long, he's passing out in a corner, talking about how sexy he is, and clumsily attempting to peel off his shirt.
The next morning, a family member offers Uncle Joe a cup of coffee. No one discusses the events of the previous evening.
And finally, some concrete suggestions for minimizing the pain:
Five tips for cutting the chaos
Tip #1: Don't give the chaos creator all the power. As family members we can needlessly stress ourselves out by anticipating how chaos-creators will take over upcoming events. Instead, we can find some peace by deciding how much time negative people will consume of our thoughts.
Tip #2: Decide on your limits and set your boundaries. Chaos-creators do not have to have free reign over events. If you are hosting the dinner or have certain expectations about an alcohol-abuser not getting intoxicated then decide on your personal limits.
Tip #3: Pick the right time. Consider the right time to set boundaries. Do not wait until the person is intoxicated. Approach this person well ahead of time -- weeks or even months -- with your concerns.
Tip #4: Identify family enablers and support them. Some family members will take pity on chaos-creators and become upset when you set boundaries. Remember that making people aware of the impact of their behaviours is a gift, especially if a person has an addiction that everyone else is ignoring.
Tip #5: Remember this is a process. Some families have a "hands off" rule, and they protect each other from perceived attacks. When you set boundaries and refuse to be quiet about others' obnoxious or even self-destructive behaviours, then you are giving them a gift of self-awareness. Remember that we teach people how to treat us, and you can never expect anyone else to change if you never let them know about the impact of their behaviours.