Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. It starts with decorating the tree then trying to pick out the right present. Of course, wrapping presents is always fun. Then comes the real Christmas story on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is filled with laughter as the kids open their presents and their eyes light up when they see what they got. Finally, Christmas dinner is served as we remember the birth of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.
Christmas for addicts is somewhat different. I would like to give you some behaviors of addicts to help you recognize addiction in your family members during the Christmas season. It is important for you to know what to look for, because addicts are not always excited about Christmas. This can be confusing for you if you are unaware of their problem. You may not understand why they are so withdrawn.
Physical warning signs of drug abuse: Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than usual. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain. Deterioration of physical appearance and personal grooming habits. Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing. Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination. Behavioral signs of drug abuse. Drop in attendance and performance at work or school.
Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it. Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors. Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies. Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities). Psychological warning signs of drug abuse Unexplained change in personality or attitude. Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts. Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness. Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or spaced out. Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason.
How do you respond to this? Well, I wouldn't suggest breaking into an intervention in the middle of Christmas dinner. That could be very disastrous. Addicts don't want to admit they have a problem. Trying to talk to them about it will only drive them further away. All you can do at this time is just love them. Open your hearts to them. Pray for them. They need to be around their family. Pray that they will see something in you and want what you have. If you know how to recognize the signs, then pray God will help you respond in a way that won't cause them to withdraw from you even more.
There is a chance that this time of year may put them under conviction. They may be ready to open up to someone if they feel the timing is right. Be ready for this. Be ready to share Christ with them.
I Peter 3:15 (KJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Becky's Key for the Week: Know the signs of addiction. Ask God how to respond to them. Pray for the family member that is struggling. Make sure they know you love them.