Holidays are a time of affirming family, friendship and life. For those whose family bonds and rituals have been disturbed by addiction and relationship trauma, holidays can stir up old anxieties and hurts that might make us feel out of step with the merriment of the season. The very gaiety and the pressure we feel to be happy, can trigger old pain around what was lost or never got a chance to be. As we get together with relatives who may be part of that pain, we might feel an inner conflict. Part of us wants closeness and connection, another part fears what might come with it. Will there be tricky undercurrents; will family issues explode or implode? We may also be stepping into a world where no one understands or even wishes to know about recovery; or who may even see it as a threat. All of this, can make maintaining our emotional sobriety feel challenging.
- Stay close to the program: This is no time to skip meetings.
- Be proactive: Create little rituals and gatherings of your own with friends.
- Manage Stresses: Everything gets blown out of proportion when we’re stressed out. Get enough rest, sleep and down time.
- Keep exercising; it’s calming.
- Shop ahead: This will lessen your feeling of burden and stress.
- Enjoy holiday food but don’t go crazy: Savor your favorite ritual treats but don’t eat in a way you will regret later. More isn’t necessarily better.
- Limit your time at any events that concern you. Stay in a hotel; take a friend check out meetings in that area.
- Stay in the Present: Allow things to be just what they are at any given moment; stay out of past issues, it’s not a good time for “getting into it”.
- Keep expectations realistic; keep it simple.
- Enjoy the little things this season: The holiday season is filled with quiet moments of pleasure like street music and decoration, good smells and warm wishes; enjoy them within yourself.
- Be open to healing: Sometimes just gathering and affirming the bonds of life and love can bring up pain that needs to be felt and healed. If that comes up just let it be, let it be felt, witnessed and released.
Remember this is just another day on your spiritual journey. The holidays needn’t be over rated nor under rated. Move through them and let them move through you.