With Christmas less than a week away, preparations are in order—many people in recovery know what that means. Those of you are in the first year, may strive to find meaning in the above words, so let’s take a minute to discuss what it meant by preparations. Major holidays are often hard on people new to recovery; this time of the year can be stressful for anyone, no matter how long they’ve been in the Rooms due to the emotions that arise. People in recovery must be prepared to defend against things that can disrupt a program during special days of the year.
Being unable to cope with emotions can wreak havoc on a program, especially if it’s already a little fragile—a common occurrence for newcomers. Struggling with one’s feelings is normal, and as long as one can keep their finger on their sentimental pulse this coming Sunday and Monday, it’s possible to respond to them in healthy ways. Your perception of things and your ability to stay positive at trying times, will play an instrumental role in making it through Christmas without incident.
If you are a young person in early recovery there’s a chance you might find yourself suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s likely you associate holidays with spending time partying with friends. Just because you’ve decided to walk a different path in life, doesn’t mean that your desire to recreate past experiences disappears completely. What’s more, you might have concerns that your choosing to work a program will cost you fun-wise; you may think that attending a holiday gathering without imbibing will make people feel less of you. Take it from us; if people do look at you in an unfavorable light, they are not people you need in your life.
Your Journey of Recovery
Nobody wants their friends and family to think they’re a stick in the mud. However, at the end of the day the perception of others regarding what you are doing pales in comparison value-wise to your conception of your life-changing journey. If you have plans to spend time with friends and family who are not in the program this weekend, that’s great. Although, you should take a little time in the coming days to shore up how you will present yourself to others, and more importantly how you will respond to specific questions. People can’t help but be curious about your new-found mission to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and instead live a principled and honest life.
First and foremost, you are in recovery because your life became unmanageable; as a result, you came to realize your powerlessness over all mind-altering substances. Such an understanding prompted you to seek treatment and learn how to live life, one day at a time, going to any lengths to accomplish the goal of a lasting recovery. We hope that you can appreciate the gravity of your decision, and be proud of the tremendous courage you exhibit each day rebelling against a disease that is trying to kill you. If you are in recovery, then you have had your fair share of parties and inebriation. Today, you derive pleasure from being authentic and of service to those in your life, just as others in recovery are to you.
Your program is Yours; the general public’s opinion of your choice to live sober is of no consequence. You know that not everyone was fortunate enough to find the program before their disease took everything. If people question your path, pay them no mind and be enthusiastic about the Gift you’ve received.
Addiction Recovery Is Worth Being Enthusiastic About
“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” — Paulo Coelho
People still in the early months of recovery may find it challenging to exude positivity, after all, early recovery demands much from one. You are working the steps (most likely), which means that you’ve been doing a lot of emotional processing. Now Christmas has reared its head and with it, new emotions with which to wrestle. Please do not become discouraged, try looking at holidays as teachable moments for your program. When a feeling arises that you don’t like, try thinking of something that you’ve done recently that makes you proud. We must take stock of people we’ve helped and efforts made for our lasting recovery.
On Christmas Eve and Day, it’s vital that we get to meetings and keep in touch with one’s sponsor or recovery peers. We must pray and meditate just as we would any other day of the year, constant conscious contact with our higher power is a requirement. Doing all of these things will help ward off that which can compromise your program. People who also take time to keep an attitude of gratitude and positivity will find getting through the holiday is made more accessible. Again, your perception can make or break your ability to navigate Christmas without drinking or drugging. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone; we keep our recovery by working together.
The thoughts and prayers of the Gentleman of PACE Recovery Center are with everyone committed to keeping their recovery this Christmas. We wish everyone a merry, safe, and sober holiday.