It is that time of the year again. With the Christmas and New Year season upon us, a lot of people will be rejoicing in so many ways. Most of this season should be devoted to children having fun, but most of it has ended up being a very stressful time of the year involved with spending money to buy gifts to be happy. It never works.

I see so many families running around in the stores trying to find that special gift that will make their Christmas perfect. The holiday music is playing everywhere and has been since early November. Advertising has been coaxing and manipulating families in regards to what hot products they need this Christmas. Moms and dads are frantically running around trying to make it all work and they feel guilty if their families don’t get what everybody else has on the block.

This should be a time when we reflect on our lives and those of the people close to us. (It’s also an opportunity to be nice to them all.) Instead we put so much stress on each other for many artificial reasons. This should be a time when we relax a bit and do some fun things as many of us are on holidays. We shouldn’t be racing around in our cars from store to store and down the concrete floors of a maze of superstores. The tragedy is that the children are watching this happen and in turn they will learn this behaviour and emulate it as they get older. So our quest for that impossible perfect holiday season will forever be sought for generations to come.

One of the biggest problems with this holiday season has to do with all of the consumption of alcohol and various drugs. Many of us automatically equate Christmas and New Year celebrations with getting drunk and high. That makes for some very terrible memories for a lot of children and ruins what good there should be at this time of the year.

The combination of alcoholism, addictions and stress turns many family and friend gatherings into sad, tragic and sometimes violent situations. While this is all happening the children watch, learn and endure.

Perhaps this so-called special time of the year is a good opportunity for so many of us who are alcoholics or addicts to realize that in fact we have a problem and that something must be done about it. Maybe this is the time to really think about our family, friends and the children with a realization that we can break this cycle of alcoholism and addiction by coming out of denial and getting help. The help is available but a person has to want to seek it. You have to ask for help if you think you might be losing your life to alcoholism or addictions. The problem is that denial is such a thick wall that many people never get to the point that they actually realize they are alcoholics or drug addicts. Their entire lives can be falling apart and everyone around them knows they are drunks and addicts but the self-realization is just not there.

Maybe this is the time of the year to give your family and friends the best Christmas and New Year’s gift ever. If you think you have a problem with alcohol or drugs this could be the best opportunity to come out of denial by admitting you’re an alcoholic or addict and then reaching out for help and doing something about it. You don’t have to wake up every day feeling terrible and living your life in a fog where you depend on alcohol or drugs just to get by. Life can be much better for you, your family and friends.

If you want to do something about your alcoholism or drug addiction, visit and hit the “Is A.A. For You” link to their questionnaire to find out if you have a problem. If you find that your honest answers to these questions obviously point to the fact that you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, then maybe the best gift you could give yourself and your family and friends is to come out of denial and reach out for help. You can start with your nearest Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous group in your area or contact your local drug and alcohol addiction centre. It is not hard to find as this information is in your local phonebook or can be found through a quick search online. Many First Nations have Native drug-and-alcohol-abuse workers who you can talk to.