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.

Your Recovery During Thanksgiving

recoveryOn the eve of Thanksgiving, it is important that those who are working a program of recovery have a plan for the holiday. Creating a schedule will eliminate the potential of finding oneself in a dangerous situation, something that could compromise your recovery. We have a routine that we stick to every other day of the year, holidays are no different. If possible, stick to your daily recovery routine, i.e.: prayer/meditation, exercise, and meetings. You may find that you need all of these things to help you navigate the obstacles that often arise for people in recovery over the holidays.

Prayer/Meditation

Many working programs of recovery pray and/or meditate every day, sometimes more than once per day. It is an opportunity to clear one’s mind, a grounding technique that helps you stay centered throughout the day. Such practices provide people an opportunity to reflect on that which they are grateful for – family, friends, and their recovery.

The holidays can be tough for those in recovery, especially if your family is no longer present in your life. Take comfort in your peers, those in your support network that you can draw strength from when painful feelings pop up. Recovery is a communal experience, one that requires that we lean on each other for support from time to time. Who knows, your peers may need to rely upon you on Thanksgiving.

Exercise

Thanksgiving is a holiday notorious for having too much food at the table. While holidays symbolize a time for people to take a day off from the everyday and overindulge, again for those in recovery it is critical that you stick to your daily routine.

Letting up on your exercise during a holiday is not necessarily frowned upon, but one should remain cognizant of how they are feeling. If you have an daily exercise routine and you choose to pass on it for the day, you may find yourself feeling a little off, do not let those feelings run away with themselves. Acknowledge that your routine has been disrupted and do your best to pull yourself out of the funk. If you need to call your sponsor or a friend in recovery, pick up the phone.

Meetings

Fortunately, major holidays are time when there are no shortage of meetings being held throughout the day. In many areas, Alcathons and Narcathons are being held, meetings are held at the top of every hour of the day. Do your best to attend your home group, but if you find yourself in need of another meeting – go to another meeting. Nobody ever relapsed by going to too many meetings during a holiday.

Our Hope

At Next Step Intervention, we would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. If you are actively working a program of recovery, we hope that you will have a safe and sober holiday.

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Please contact Next Step Intervention if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

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