Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day Ten

Thursday, November 10, 2022

 

Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays
Photo from Unsplash

Here we are at day ten of my series on supporting your recovery during the holidays. It's been a pleasure coming out here every day for the last ten days, and I hope this series has helped you with preparing for this holiday season. This last tip, I feel can be up there with one of the most important tips during the holidays and beyond.


Tip #10: Take time to enrich your spirit.


Material considerations often take center stage in people’s minds when it comes to the holidays. It doesn’t matter what holiday it is, there always seems to be a furious burst of activity around getting ready for the day, being involved on the day, and cleaning up after the day. 


What often gets left out completely is attention to the spiritual aspect of the holiday. Christmas is the most obvious time when paying attention to spirituality would seem to matter most. But it’s certainly not the only time. Easter is another, as well as Thanksgiving. 


In fact, when you get right down to it, any holiday is a good time to think more about your spirituality than all the material trappings associated with the day.


How do you enrich your spirit?  There’s no single way. What works for you may not be the same as what proves most effective for the next person. You may believe in God or a Higher Power or the power of spirit or nature. 


Maybe you go to a church or a synagogue or commune with nature by meditating in the woods or by a pond or lake or stream. Some people get in touch with their spirituality and feel a sense of enrichment by doing yoga.


You can also just close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Slowly breathing in, hold for a count of four, then slowly exhale, emptying out as much air as you can, and doing it all over again. You can do this several times until you feel a sense of peace within. Breathwork will change your visceral state of BEing! 


Creative visualization is another great way to connect with the Soul. Picture a peaceful scene (your safe place) and continue to breathe in and out deeply and regularly. Do this for about 15 to 20 minutes. You will feel refreshed and renewed afterward. 


What you are doing, in essence, is centering yourself, freeing yourself from stresses and distractions. You are bringing yourself back into balance: body, mind, and spirit. This might take a little bit of practice, so take your time, even if you only have 60 seconds to spare. Take time to connect with Self, your Soul and who/what you see your Higher Power to be!


Wishing You a Very Blessed Holiday Season!






Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day Nine

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

 
Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays
Photo from Unsplash

Tip 9 - Keep Busy  


When you were in treatment and before you completed your program, one of the important parts was relapse prevention. This is where you learned about the importance of keeping yourself busy, of creating and maintaining schedules and adhering to a healthier routine. 


During the holidays, it’s especially helpful to have a list of things that you can get involved in or do so that your mind isn’t left to wonder about all the activities you’re missing out on.


Tackle a project you’ve been putting off. Invite some friends over for an intimate dinner at your home. Go out and enjoy a movie or a concert. You can also volunteer to help at any number of worthwhile organizations or charities. Do something nice for your neighbor or someone at work who’s been ill.


Sit down with pen and paper and make a list of things you’d like to do, want to do, and have the time to do. You can prioritize them or do what is the quickest and easiest to get involved in right now. 


Once you’re done with that, move on to the next one. If this doesn’t get you through any qualms about being true to your recovery, then get yourself to a 12-step meeting and find support there. Yesterday's tip will be very helpful as if you are feeling too overwhelmed or feel at a loss of motivation, sadness, loneliness, or depression that the holidays can often bring.






Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day Eight

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

 
Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays
Photo from Unsplash

Tip #8: If you feel you might stumble, call your sponsor.


This tip applies anytime of the year. Day or night, if you feel like you’re in trouble and may slip, get in touch with your 12-step sponsor. 


Don’t delay. Don’t tough it out. Don’t give yourself an excuse to do something to jeopardize your sobriety. After all, that’s what your sponsor signed on for when he or she agreed to be your sponsor. 


If not to help you discover your true strengths, to be supportive of your efforts to stay clean and sober, to listen in a nonjudgmental manner and with compassion, to offer helpful advice – what else is your sponsor for?


Of course, it goes without saying that you should choose your 12-step sponsor carefully. Be sure that the person you ask to sponsor you has been in successful recovery for at least one year or more. 


The more time a sponsor has in recovery, the more you look up to and admire the person’s words and deeds, the way he or she is always there when you’re in need, the more beneficial this person can be to you if you have a problem during the

holidays.


One thing to remember is that you’re not putting your sponsor out by calling.  The relationship you have with your sponsor is a special one. You both are committed to your sobriety.


So, don't allow the holiday season, or any day of the year, prevent you from reaching out when you are having a weak moment, or feel like life is just too overwhelming. Part of living life on life's terms is to recognize that it's okay to ask for help, to recognize that you are human trying to walk through this thing called life without reaching for substances to get you through the day.






Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day Seven

Monday, November 7, 2022

 

Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day 7
Photo from Unsplash

Gratitude is a way of BEing. An energy, a deeply felt spiritual practice. Gratitude has been so saturated over the last several decades and has become, in my own opinion, white noise. When we can take a step back and look at things...our life from a much higher perspective, we can then see what true gratitude is and feels like.


Tip #7: Give thanks for your sober days.


It may help to think about the number of days or weeks or months you’ve been sober. Just counting up the days can afford a measure of comfort and peace. This is a big achievement, and one that you’ve worked hard for. Sometimes, just taking the time to give thanks for all this time you’ve been sober in recovery is enough to keep you firmly on your path.


It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and see where we might be lacking. Maybe we aren't where we think we "should" be, and during the holidays, with it's very commercial and materialistic focus, we can easily feel like we aren't enough or fall short.


If we take a step back and reflect on where we were, compared to where we are now, we can fill our hearts and minds with gratitude. Being thankful for every single moment we have chosen sobriety/recovery.


You ARE enough! You always were enough!






Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day Six

Sunday, November 6, 2022

 

Spend Time with Fellow 12-Step Members
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash


Tip #6 Spend Time with Fellow 12-Step Members

Who understands the impact of the holidays on sobriety better than your fellow 12-step members?  And what better place to be than at a 12-step meeting when you feel the pressures of the holiday season? 


The truth is that those in recovery aren’t any more immune to depression and loneliness than someone who’s never had a problem with alcohol. Thousands of people of all ages are alone or infirm or depressed during the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, or around birthdays of now-deceased relatives or friends. 


But the difference is that you, since you are in recovery, have an automatic support network in your 12-step sponsor and group members. Besides the fellowship and support, you’ve got someplace legitimate to go during the holidays. You don’t have to stress yourself about what to do or say. 


Your group members know what it feels like to be somewhat out of place – especially when you’re new to recovery.  And you’ll get lots of ideas on how to handle different situations by listening to others share during the meetings.


Many 12-step groups may hold special get-togethers during certain holidays. This provides convivial atmosphere and a sober way to celebrate special occasions. You should not ever go through the holidays...your sobriety/recovery alone! 


There are people, places and groups out there who are more than willing to hold out their hand to you. They understand because they have been where you are right now. One day, you will be that hand outstretched to help another who is where you once were.






Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day Five

Saturday, November 5, 2022

 

Go Late & Leave Early

Here we are on day 5 of my ten-day series on supporting your recovery during the holidays. We're at the halfway mark! I am hoping that with these tips, it will make the holidays less stressful for you as you navigate your recovery, one moment, one day at a time.


I would love to hear from you, so please let me know in the comment section how you feel about these tips. Anything you would add to these tips? Let me know! Inquiring minds want to know!


Tip #5: Go late and leave early.


Here’s another tip that may work for you. It’s simple, really. Just go as late as you can to the party without being irresponsible and leave well before the party’s end. 


What you’re doing, in effect, is putting in an appearance. That’s all that matters to most hosts anyway. You’ve been invited. You show up, talk to a few folks, and leave. End of story.


As for the others at the party or get-together, they’re too busy chatting up friends and family members to notice how long you’re in attendance.  And if someone does tap your arm and ask why you’re leaving, give them the response you prepared in advance (see tip #4).






Tips to Support Your Recovery During the Holidays Day Four

Friday, November 4, 2022

Have Back-Up Plans Ready
Photo by Prophsee Journals on Unsplash

 Let's get right into day four of my ten-day series of supporting your recovery during the holidays.


Tip #4: Have back-up plans ready.


It’s amazing how a simple tip can make all the difference. If you’re prepared with a reasonable response when you’re at a party and getting ready to leave and someone asks you to stay, it’s not only less stressful, but also essential. You’ve got an easy out, no one’s feelings are hurt, and you’ve been true to your sobriety.


Here’s how it works. You always have something that needs to be done. 


Holidays are no exception. Your response could be that you have to run an errand for your spouse or mother, or you have an appointment you can’t miss. Maybe you need to pick up your children or get to the bank before it closes or buy supplies for work. 


What you say isn’t important. What is important is that you prepare what you’ll say in advance and stick to it. Don’t allow someone to convince you to stay just a little longer. Your time is your own. You don’t owe it to anyone else.


Laugh off objections, if that makes it any easier for you. Your friends or the party’s host will get over it. And you’ll be on your way without getting yourself in harm’s way.


Your recovery, your sobriety, your life is paramount and protecting your peace at all costs is what will keep you strong and resilient not only through the holidays but through anything life may throw at you.





 

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