All of us deserve the richness of life, personal restoration, and connection that a holiday season can bring. Strive wishes the fullness of spiritual and physical health to all our clients, our endlessly dedicated staff, our financial supporters, our clinical and business partners, to military service people and Veterans here and abroad.
All that said and meant: the holidays too often do not play out like that. Instead these weeks can pose stressful situations, changes in our recovery routine, a presence of alcohol and drugs at gatherings, seen, somehow, as acceptable for the holidays, all often leaving us off balance and vulnerable.
Childhood and other memories, expectations around holiday customs, unhealthy eating, financial stress, family obligations, all can load up and threaten our recovery.
Still, approaching the holidays with intention: thinking ahead with the help of your recovery counselor or guide or close family member can greatly lessen the burden and even help you relax into a new kind of holiday, new “recovery traditions.” Think ahead: what will the holidays be like, and how can you act differently to nourish your health and that of other people?
For example, you have had the courage to embark on recovery, something that takes tremendous strength; why not use this strength in service to others?Instead of endlessly shopping, consider a trip to help out at a soup kitchen or shelter. If it’s appropriate, take your kids.
Visit a neighbor who is not able to leave their house.
When you do end up at a gathering or meeting, take a moment to converse with a person who seems shy or not comfortable with engaging in the group.
Meanwhile take care of yourself.
Before driving over to that party, (or before the crowd arrives), consider a call to a friend, and call the same person afterwards, “wrapping” the oh so public party in comfortable private conversations. Monitor your feelings during the party: instead of feeling on edge, anxious, or stressed, try to notice all the interesting people around you. Just allow yourself to notice, be present, be positive: you may find that things are perfect just as they are, while you have no obligations at all.
Above all, during these next few weeks find some time for personal reflection and relaxation each day. If it’s physical exercise that floats your boat, even though it’s cold, find the way out there. Go on, you know you can.
Have your own recovery traditions? Feel free to write us and share your experiences.
Strive wishes a joyous holiday and Happy New Year to all!