by Father Jim Swarthout, Director of Alumni and Clergy Services
The greatest gift you can give yourself, your family, and friends during the holidays is recovery
The holidays can bring up all types of emotions, sometimes we miss our family and friends, sometimes we aren’t sure how to act around them, and other times we must participate in events and parties where alcohol or other drugs might be present. Don’t be discouraged; you are not alone. Even though the holidays might be a tough time for you, there are steps you can take to the joyful journey of gratitude! The JOURNEY of JOY is the destination of HOPE and HAPPINESS!
Step 1: Put it in perspective – It’s all about JOY! You have a right to JOY!!
My recommendation is to treat the holidays like any other day of your recovery, don’t give it special attention or stress, because it too will pass! It’s just another 24 hours of recovery. Pay attention to honesty – “Rigorous Honesty” your – Thoughts – Feelings – and Attitudes lead to actions!
Step 2: Have a plan – It’s your gift to self!
If you feel uncomfortable, tempted, or upset at the thought of being in the presence of alcohol or drugs this holiday season, you have every right to go and celebrate a safe place – a gift to self!
Step 3: Put your recovery first
It’s not selfish to put your recovery first, it’s necessary because if you’re not in recovery, you can’t be the best version of yourself.
Step 4: Be ready to address your sobriety
You might be met with some concern and confusion at first, but remember you don’t have to justify your sobriety to anyone. If it feels good to you and your life is better, then those are the only reasons you need. It might help to have an idea of what you might say ahead of time if you are asked about your sobriety.
Step 5: Embrace the gratitude
When all else fails, remember why you started this journey. It might help to write down a daily gratitude list around the holidays to remind you why you are grateful for your sobriety and why it’s worth it to you. Another thing that can make you feel grateful is helping others. When you’re consumed by your own thoughts, the best medicine is reaching out to someone else.