Staying safe in recovery this holiday season.
Loneliness and Sadness Come and Go
This time of year brings us face to face with powerful emotions as we may remember past holidays we have spent with loved ones we have lost. It is good to remember how much people meant to us who are now gone. Strangely this is a part of what makes these days so special and sacred.
Loneliness and sadness are emotions that we can shift. If we share our feelings with other loved ones we find that the feelings dissipate. If we connect with our local church group, synagogue, 12-Step meeting, yoga community or meditation sangha, we can find the connection we crave. However, if we choose to be alone with our sadness and loneliness it tends to build up and leave us in a painful and potentially dangerous space.
Choose Not To Be Alone
The holidays are a time for coming together. Whatever thought you may have that keeps you alone at this time, challenge it. If you feel like you have no family to be with, then choose to be with friends. If you feel like you have no friends then go down to the soup kitchen and serve food to the homeless over the holidays. There, you will find kindness, compassion and human connection. You will be in the solution to addiction.
Start with a meeting and set the tone for your week
If you are going home or traveling anywhere, when you arrive, go to a meeting first. For some this will mean a 12-Step meeting or another kind of recovery meeting. Do this first before you get pulled into the energies of family or whomever you are with.
Recognise and Confront the Saboteur
Be aware of the mind’s/ego’s tendency to sabotage your efforts. Your mind will be working overtime to get you to break your commitments to yourself. Of course it is going to happen as you approach the holidays. Just bringing awareness to this tendency returns you to presence. Nothing more is needed. Once aware of it, it will lose its power as long as you remain conscious.
If things get uncomfortable for you, take a walk, go to a meeting or yoga class or call up a mentor, trusted friend or sponsor. You do not have to sit in an uncomfortable situation. You can always just take a break. This simple strategy has made the difference for me on more than one occasion.
No Need to Fit in, You Fit Perfectly in You
Resist the temptation to fall back into old agreementswith family or friends that no longer serve the “you” that you have become. At the same time, we must resist the temptation of trying to seek approval for who we’ve grown into. Often, people will resent this or not see you in the same light you see yourself. This can bring up big-time resentment and leave your holidays feeling less than holy.
Be in the Attitude of Service
Show up this holiday season knowing your cup is full enough to be of service to others. Service can take many forms. You can feel the homeless, of course. And you can also show up with a good attitude to be with your family. Help them cook, clean up. Be present as much as you can. Ask them how they are doing and practice being a great listener. You will soon find that you have contentment – the freedom from wanting or needing anything.
Stay on your recovery path. Ask for help if you need it. Never despair for there is a way through every block. Wishing you all a Happy Holidays. Each of us has so much to be grateful for.
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