Interviewer: Heather, you mentioned earlier that you had a particularly traumatic experience around the holidays—Christmas time in particular; could you tell us a little more about that?
Heather: Sure. That was kind of the year that, what do you say, the straw that broke the camel’s back type of thing. My husband—we had his family over for Christmas Eve, about 10‑15 people, the big Christmas spread—after everybody left, we had a hug blow up. And I didn’t even know what to do. Do you call 911? It was very, very traumatic. And that is when we kind of separated, and that’s when I started going to Al‑Anon. The next Friday was January third, and I attended my first meeting.
I was in the program for about a year and a half before my husband went into his own recovery program. And it’s been a journey that we have taken together. And now, when the holidays come up, I get stressed out about my parents—and I’m sure he gets stressed out by his family. So, we’ve kind of communicated about it and we set some boundaries. Like, what do you want to do? We’ll spend this much time with that family or this one—you know so much time with the other family.
And as far as, you know, kind of smoothing things out—I think it’s us talking and communicating before the actual event. And kind of lowering those expectations so that it’s not so stressful for each of us.
Interviewer: That’s great, thank you.