This Memorial Day, Don’t Let Addiction Ruin Your Holiday Weekend

2 min read · 2 sections

Memorial Day weekend is here, and we know that holidays and family gatherings can be difficult for those struggling with addiction.

Old family feuds, drama between family members, or disapproval of things that have happened in the past tend to come up during family functions. All of this can be extremely stressful.

There is no “magic cure” for addiction. It takes hard work to abstain from substance use and get sober, but you can start today and have a better tomorrow.

This Memorial Day, don't let addiction ruin your holiday weekend

A story from Oxford Treatment Center alumnus carter:

Don’t Ruin Memorial Day (Like I Did)

In my hometown there’s a Memorial Day parade followed by partying all day and fireworks all evening. This particular Memorial Day, our family (all 31 of us) were supposed to take a group photo before the parade because this was the first time in years we were all in the same place. I knew it would be a big deal if I missed it, but at that time I didn’t care about hurting my family.

I partied hard the night before, and even though I was sick, I woke up early in the morning of the family photo so I could get what I needed so that I wouldn’t be sick in front of my family. But that trip ended up taking 2 hours because of the holiday traffic, and I completely missed the family photo. I was embarrassed, but I figured my parents and grandparents would just have to get over it.

I decided go to my uncle’s Memorial Day pool party in hopes of taking some of the negative attention away from my missing the family photo. But, of course, I was still scolded by my parents, and my other relatives refused to speak to me. Even though this hurt my feelings, I was pretty numb to any emotion or human connection due to my excessive substance misuse. I brushed it off, went to the bathroom every 30-45 minutes to do another line, and returned to the party trying to act casual with my sunglasses on and a drink in my hand.

My family knew I had a problem, but they didn’t understand the extent of it. Nobody in my family had ever really addressed the disease of addiction, so they didn’t know how to tell me to stop drinking and misusing substances. They also thought I’d storm off in a rage if they mentioned it, and they didn’t want me to run away from the problem, so it was a lose-lose situation in their eyes.

I sat on the edge of the pool listening to music and making small talk with my teenage cousins. Next thing I know, I feel the cold water of the pool on my face and then I’m being dragged out of the pool by my uncle and brother. I came to almost instantly, and I remember the extreme discomfort of my wet clothes sticking to my skin and the chlorine smell stuck in my nose from nearly drowning.

I had no idea what happened, but they say I passed out and fell face first into the pool. I was 22 at the time and on the swim team, so everyone noticed it was out of character for me. I would have drowned if my family hadn’t been there. My younger cousins were crying, my dad and uncle yelled at me, and my mom left the party. I’m guessing she just couldn’t handle the situation. My family asked me to leave.

Nobody could believe what had happened. I was lost and out of control. Even after nearly drowning and being asked to leave, I lashed out at my family and told them they were crazy. I told them they didn’t deserve a happy Memorial Day because they didn’t even want their own family member there. I even told my dad, “If you actually cared about me or took responsibility for your kids, I wouldn’t have turned out this way.” What I didn’t understand then was that the only person responsible for the Memorial Day wreckage was me.

My parents were—and still are—the best parents anybody could ever ask for, and they did everything they could to help me. They are the reason I ultimately ended up at The Oxford Center, an American Addictions Centers rehab, and that was the best decision I ever made.

Treatment at Oxford offered me a long-term solution for my self-induced insanity brought on by my drug and alcohol misuse.

Today, I’m healthy and thriving, and just over 2 years sober!

— Carter, Oxford Center alumnus

Special Treatment Programs for Military Service Members at AAC

While AAC offers treatment to every individual who needs it, we have special treatment programs and resources available to Veterans.

As this weekend of festivities is dedicated to honoring the service members who have died in military action for the United States, AAC wants those who serve or have served the country—and struggle with substance use or misuse—to know that help exists. Our Salute to Recovery program treats Veterans and first responders with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders with programming that focuses on camaraderie, trust, and evidence-based therapies. The program achieves this by creating a network of individuals, made up of others in the Salute to Recovery program and staff members—many of them Veterans—to help guide and support these current and retired U.S. Veterans from all military branches throughout their recovery journey.

Whether you’re a Veteran, active-duty military service member, or have no connection to the military at all, reach out to AAC at if you or a loved one struggle with substance misuse or addiction. Speak to one of our compassionate and knowledgeable admissions navigators, who can answer your questions, explain your options, and help you get started on your journey to a substance-free, healthier life today.

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