The rehabs are empty, but the bars are full

The holidays can be make or break for drug addicts. We see this year after year. Starting around Thanksgiving and continuing through the first of the new year, the rehabs are empty, but the bars are full. Parents don’t want their kids in rehab on Christmas, and addicts don’t want to be in rehab on Christmas. So, they put it off until the new year and, all too often, it turns out disastrous.

Parents of drug addicts, know this: If your child is addicted to drugs and not in rehab, he is going to show up on Christmas, get high and ruin everything.

That is not to say that it will be easy this Christmas without them present. Trust me, being in rehab on Christmas is hard. I was there in 1995. You do some major soul searching and gut checking when you’re all alone in a rehab while your family is together celebrating. It’s a very illuminating experience.

But seeking help for drug addiction is not something that you can put off for three weeks. I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of the holiday season.

A few years ago, a friend of mine died after the new year because he put off going to rehab for the holidays and work commitments. He knew he needed to go, he just thought it could wait. Since then, I don’t negotiate with drug addicts anymore. And parents shouldn’t either. Rehab is not something that can wait.

I hear it all the time though.

“I don’t want to be mean and I just want family together on Christmas.”

Since when is it “mean” to send someone you love to get help for a deadly disease?

The greatest gift you can give your child is getting them in rehab this Christmas so they can be alive and celebrate with you next Christmas.

And to addicts: the greatest gift you can give to your family is to humble go get the help you need. Don’t wait.

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