Christmas, and the Shield of Gratitude

addiction, gratitudeWith Christmas around the corner, it is crucial that those who are actively working a program of recovery remain grounded and calm during the big day. While the holidays are cause for celebration, recovering addicts and alcoholics need to celebrate in a different way and it may require that one celebrate different things. Celebrating one’s recovery often means living in a place of gratitude, and sobriety is definitely something for which to be grateful. On Christmas, it is important that those in recovery for addiction remember where they came from and how far they have come – even if they have only been clean and sober for a short period of time.

The Shield of Gratitude

Most people who are in recovery were once in a very bad way, when they get sober it opens up all kinds of possibilities that are only possible because of their recovery. Remembering the people and things that you are grateful for can be your greatest protection, if you are finding yourself feeling blue on Christmas Day.

The holidays can be trying, and it can be difficult to attend events where alcohol is in abundance without encountering strong feelings, which, left unchecked can lead people in recovery to think it is OK to have a drink. It is at times like those that you remind yourself where that drink will take you, playback the tape of your past, and be grateful that you don’t have to go there ever again. Recovering addicts and alcoholics have so much for which to be grateful, failing to acknowledge the miracle of one’s recovery can be dangerous.

Christmas Meetings

Just as on Thanksgiving, meetings will be held all day long on Christmas. It is always wise to attend a meeting, or more, after you finish with family obligations. Being around one’s family can be stressful; therefore, it is crucial that you join your recovery peers so you can discuss how you are feeling. Surrounding yourself with like minded people, working towards the same goal is sure way to decompress from the pressure of a family gathering.

If you are estranged from your family it can be painful, but it does not mean that you have to pick up to manage those feelings. Drinking or using will not bring your family back into your life any sooner, it will surely prolong such an eventuality. Instead, put your faith in the power of the program, and channel your energy into those who are actively part of your life. You may find yourself as a source of strength to the newcomer who is struggling more than you.

The Hand of Recovery

We at Next Step Intervention would like to wish everyone in Recovery a Merry Christmas, free from alcohol and drugs. Please remember that the hand of recovery is always there, never hesitate to reach out for help if you find yourself in need.

Working A Recovery Program While Traveling

recoveryThis time of year, for some, often involves a lot of traveling due to the national holidays. Whether you are visiting friends and family, or just looking for a respite from the cold, traveling can be stressful. Bad weather can result in unexpected delays or layovers, which can last for uncomfortable lengths of time. For most people, such occurrences are merely an inconvenience resulting in a headache; but for those in recovery from chemical dependency, traveling can be dangerous environment. People in recovery need to do everything in their power to remain strong, lest their program becomes disrupted. Sadly, many people in recovery have relapsed while on the road, but do not be discouraged, relapse does not have to be a part of your travel story.

There Are Meetings Everywhere

No matter where you are in the United States, and in many countries overseas, you can easily find 12-step recovery meetings. You can look online to find a list of local meetings to attend. If you are staying in a hotel, the concierge may be able to provide you a directory of the meetings in the area.

While 12-step meetings are relatively uniform with regard to the principles and traditions of a recovery program, how meeting houses go about things is always a little different from state to state and from city to city. You may find a new experience by attending meetings in an area foreign to you. On top of that, you will have an opportunity to meet different people who share the common bond of recovery with you. Do not shy away from attending meetings while you are traveling, especially if you find yourself struggling – sometimes your program requires you to do more than call your sponsor.

Plan, Plan, Plan…

It is important to plan your trip out ahead of time, especially if you are vacationing in early recovery. There are a number of getaway destinations that revolve around alcohol, such as Las Vegas or New Orleans. Places where you are likely to have a lot of exposure to alcohol may not be the safest place to visit.

If visiting risky places cannot be avoided, have a plan that revolves around your recovery is paramount. It is advised that you know ahead of time which meetings you plan to attend, so that upon your arrival you have safe place you can turn. It is also wise to have set time scheduled for you and your sponsor to have a conversation over the phone, it is important to be accountable to someone else while traveling in recovery.

The Hand of Recovery

Always remember that you are not alone, your support network and sponsor are always just a phone call away. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel may compromise your recovery, do not hesitate to pick up the phone. It is always easier to call your sponsor before a relapse, than it is after the fact.

The NIAAA Will Host a TWITTER CHAT About Holiday Drinking

The holiday season is here…

Just about 12 days ago we gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving. We may have had just a quiet celebration with our immediate family members, or maybe we traveled a long distance to be with extended family. It could be we couldn’t be home for the holiday so we found ourselves with a few friends or maybe just one good friend. Many people this year had to work on Thanksgiving and some may have volunteered to feed the homeless. When all things are considered it is a beautiful time of the year, and yet so many of us worry that our loved ones may drink too much or maybe we worry about our own propensity to drink too much.

After all, Christmas is just two and one-half weeks away followed by the New Years Eve holiday. There will be company parties, informal gatherings, and family get-togethers. And in most households alcohol will be served. So we thought today we would share a new resource to learn more about alcohol and the holidays.


NIAAA to host Twitter Chat about holiday drinking

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) will host a Twitter Chat on December 12, 2013, at 3:00PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). The topic is:

“Alcohol & the Holidays: What you Need to Know”

The chat will be co-hosted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc (NCADD) and the scientific expert will be Dr. Aaron White, Ph.D. To participate or to just follow along utilize the hashtag #NIAAAChat

Chat topics to be discussed

According to the NIAAA website the topics to be covered will be:

  • If you choose to drink, how to celebrate safely
  • Stats about drunk driving
  • Evidence based advice for any who are considering reducing their drinking in the New Year
  • After affects of a night of too much drinking

You can also choose to follow both @NIAAAnews and @NCADDNational on Twitter. But remember, you do not need to follow either one to participate in the CHAT.

Do you know what a Twitter Chat is?

Simply put, a Twitter Chat is an interactive conversation at a specific time on Twitter. If you have a Twitter profile, then you may be familiar with or have participated in a Twitter Chat. Basically you take the following steps:

1. Sign into your Twitter account about 10 minutes before the scheduled chat.
2. In the search box type in the #NIAAAChat and search for results
3. You will see results like this:

4. The results will keep updating as the chat proceeds. 5. You can choose to reply, retweet, ask a question, BUT in order to participate your tweet MUST include the hashtag #NIAAAChat; otherwise the other participants will not see your tweets. It can move quickly, don’t be nervous…just watch the conversation.

Here is the good news. If you cannot participate at the appointed time of 3:00PM EST, then you can always sign into your Twitter account, search for the hashtag #NIAAAChat and read the transcript at your leisure.

Why is this Twitter Chat important?

It is important to understand a few statistics regarding alcohol use in the United States. According the NCADD website:

“Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States- 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has abused alcohol.”

In today’s quick paced world, social media has become one more resource for people to learn and gather information about the disease of addiction, particularly alcoholism.

Wishing you a beautiful and healthy holiday season…

One final word, as you prepare to celebrate the holidays, we would like to remind you that it is often during the holiday season that family members realize that an intervention is needed for their loved one. Remember an interventionist is a mediator and necessary component to getting the loved one into a suitable drug and alcohol treatment program. Often, this is too great of a feat for the family and loved ones to do on their own because they are too emotionally involved with and impacted by the addict’s behaviors and despair. Interventionists provide knowledge where there is confusion, clarity where there is fog, solution where there is dismay and hope where there is despair.

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