Quality time with family
With the daily schedules, timed out to a tee and with little room for manoeuvre, how can we fit in quality time with the family?
Last weekend I had a brilliant day out with my family. I have recently reshuffled the way I have been doing things so I can fit family, work and other responsibilities in much better. I have been trying to spend as much quality and uninterrupted time in with my children and my husband as possible and it really does feel good! Sometimes, when we are busy with work, busy worrying about one particular person in our lives and busy worrying about things we can’t even change, we forget about the other people we have got in front of us. We forget the people that are always there for us and who we exist for. We are busy with the business of social media and scrolling through what everyone else is up to without living the life with people that want to live it with us!
Sometimes, one person or one aspect of our life can take up nearly all of our energy. I’ve started working on a project which I love incredibly, but I need to be careful that I reserve some space and time for the rest of my loved one’s and my other projects.
How to get quality time with a loved one with problematic drug or alcohol use
If you have a family member that uses drugs and alcohol, you can get some quality time in with them too. It’s important that you set boundaries and stick to them though. This is how to do it:
- If it’s quality time one to one, think of something you both like doing that will be of particular high value for them. This could be cooking their favourite dinner, watching a movie or going out somewhere that is not drug or alcohol related.
- There is no point going out clubbing with a drug user or going to a pub quiz with someone who has problems with alcohol! Stay away from the drugs. Don’t plan anything in involving substances, even if you will enjoy it or it brings back good memories from ‘before’.
- Agree your plan at a convenient time and day for both of you.
- Make it clear to your loved one that they need to be sober.
- Have a contingency plan for yourself if they are under the influence.
- Remember that them choosing to use substances is their choice. You have no control over it, you only have control over how you respond. Don’t react if they do, Always respond.
- Tell your loved one that it is up to them if they choose to use substances, but you choose not to be around it. If they use, then they do not get your company. Either carry on without them or leave them to enjoy the activity and you make alternative arrangements with no conflict. Try again next time.
- Don’t take it personally. I know, This is tough. Addiction, dependency or whatever you or they want to label it as means that the substance is often the priority. Keep trying without conflict and love and you will be able to influence
- If your loved one is sober, enjoy! Talk about how you love spending time with them sober. How you miss these times. The more your loved one recognises they are missing out on good things, the more likely they are to start thinking about changing. This is their decision though, not yours.
- Remember that we need to tip the balance so that drug or alcohol users experience the negative consequences of their substance use. One of these negative consequences is losing your company when under the influence and reminding them of what they are missing out on when they are sober!
How to get quality time with others
Going back to what I said earlier about one person taking up your energy, don’t forget that you can spend time with the other people without them. A major issue with families affected by a loved one’s substance use is that the rest of the family and social life is affected too.
Remember the circle of influence and how we spend a lot of our time worrying about things we have absolutely no influence over whatsoever!
So, take your baby to the cinema.
Take your partner out for a meal.
Take your dad for afternoon tea.
Go and see an old friend.
Go on an adventure with the family.
Spend some time alone!
Whetever you enjoy doing, do it!
Let me know what you’re planning to do, when, where and with who in the comments : )
I can help
My service, The Vesta Approach, supports families affected by a loved one’s substance use. You can access confidential support from me wherever you are in the world. I will help you to get your loved one into treatment and lead a better life. I offer face to face sessions in the Manchester (UK) area or via Skype.
I also have an online therapeutic programme. Take a look at my services here
Sign up to my mailing list here to keep up to date with Vesta news and get my free Ten Steps to Family Recovery download.