Drink and Drugs News DDN December 2019 | Page 22

FAMILY SUPPORT THE PRESENT OF A A Imagine a very different version of this year’s festivities. Liam Ward finds out what it means to spend Christmas in rehab roaring fire, a table laid with a lavish roast dinner, a tree groaning under the weight of decorations – a glowing backdrop to the family gathering. However your Christmas looks, what’s certain is that you’re never missing from the picture. The reality of Christmas for people in residential rehabilitation can often be quite different. Spending this time of year away from families and loved ones can be difficult. Harder still is the prospect of reframing what Christmas means to you if your memories are dominated by negative experiences of drugs or alcohol. Across our sites in Sheffield, Wirral, Glasgow and at our National Specialist Family Service, we need to ensure that every single person in our care this Christmas is supported through this challenging period. 22 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • DEC 2019-JAN 2020 THREE WISE MEN I recently talked to three of our graduates from the Sheffield Residential Service about their experiences of Christmas. Luke and Robert had spent Christmas 2017 with us and Jake had been here in 2018 (names have been changed). Before they entered treatment, all three associated the festive period with being in the company of family, but for each of them it had become a grudging duty. A time of celebration for others had, for them, become a hinderance to their substance use. Robert comes from a family where Christmas means parties, socialising and honouring traditions. ‘In my family, from Christmas Eve onwards, there always seems to be a party at somebody’s house,’ he said. ‘All the men in my family have always gone to the pub on Christmas Day. They still do that ‘All the men in my family have always gone to the pub on Christmas day. They still do that now... That tradition is one of the hardest ones. I don’t know if I’d be able to do that now.’ WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM