Day 7 of HIKMT’s 25 Ways in 25 Days to celebrate Christmas
A bit of Holiday hope, from a gratefully recovering addict. On 2/9/10 I became newly clean and homeless. The 2nd part of that was alleviated when I became part of a clean and sober group home. I had very little family support during my early days in recovery. Most were lost to time, and the rest, well I had burned bridges in active addiction. It was lonely to be newly recovering, but estranged from any real family or social connections. But I had become part of a household where a premium was placed on working together to build a new life. I will never forget the crew at South Bay Trails Oxford House for giving me a sense of belonging through those early days.
For as much as I missed parts of my life before addiction, I was in a safe environment where I could benefit from the experience of those who came before me. And goodness, did I ever get the chance to grow. My family began to trickle back into my life, and I even found a loving partner a few years into the journey. The holiday experience started becoming more familiar, like normal again. I soon found myself invited in to traditional holiday parties in the presence of people who did normal holiday things. Specifically, party.
I am a firm believer that people who want you in their lives will go to great lengths to show it in their actions. Some of these individuals were happy to provide me with sparkling cider and the consideration of not feeling as if my recovery was an imposition; others, not so much. While I do have a powerful conviction in my recovery, it is not a good idea for me to casually hang around with people who do not respect my boundaries. A little consideration goes a long way. Thankfully, I recognize that I can get up and leave when my recovery is threatened, but those who are newer to recovery are not necessarily as stable.
It’s important to be mindful that addiction is literally a life and death situation, and it can be tempting to fall back into old patterns of behavior.
If you love your recovering addict, the best way to show it is by having safe environment to share in the holiday festivities.
Here are a few pointers.
1. Keep alcohol behind the bar. Out of sight out of mind.
2. Provide an area where partiers can go to do their thing. The family room is not the best place to get loaded.
3. Be mindful of the recovering addict that you love, but don’t hover. Most people don’t want a babysitter.
4. Understand that even with the best intentions, an addict can still become triggered. In recovery, we learn that the best way to keep ourselves safe is by removing ourselves from environments not conducive to our recovery. If they have to leave the festivities, don’t take it personal. Give them a hug, and say, “Thanks for coming.”
5. Educate yourself. There are a lot of community and online resources that can help to improve your understanding on how to be a supportive influence in the life of a recovering addict.
I’ve shut the door on yesterday, And thrown the key away. Tomorrow holds no fears for me, Since I have found today.
— Vivian Yeiser Laramore
Feeling guilty or ashamed about the past – about what we did or did not do, about what happened to us, about who we were – can be our undoing. We must work long and hard in our recovery to work through these feelings, not to forget the past – for it informs all that we value in ourselves today – but to put the past into perspective.
After we’ve taken an inventory and grieved our losses we must forgive ourselves. In forgiving ourselves we can let go of the past and live in today.
With our program of recovery, looking back is not as frightening as it once was. And today we do not have to bear what we find alone.
A new year, a new life, can be ours. Love and friendship, support and spiritual growth are waiting for us today. Our yesterdays are over, and we can look to the future with joy and anticipation.
Today help me forgive myself for what’s past and learn to have faith in Your plan for me.
Shortcut to the Spirit of the Season:
Earning your wings – Webster’s Third International Dictionary defines an angel as “a devine winged messenger.” While accurate, this definition fails to describe the warmth experienced by those who have been touched by an angel. As you live out the spirit of giving with warmth and kindness, someone might point to you this Christmas and say, “That’s the one God sent to touch my life.”
Many people grow up with the belief that angels are always watching over us. Though we look to angels every day of the year, it is especially during the holiday season when angels can be role models for us. People want to believe in angels. They need the reassurance that someone is looking out for them. They need to know someone cares. They need to know that their lives made a difference. It is time to discover that we can and do make a difference when we serve others in a special way.
Christmastime is the season when the world seems to lay aside misunderstanding and embraces hope for peace. God has placed in your hands the ability to make others feel power, grace and peace today. You can be the person who makes a joyful impact on this holiday season and on each day of the New Year. The best gift of all is to give of your time. Showing someone that you care lifts their spirits and makes their Christmas brighter. Just taking a few minutes to help a lonely person will greatly bless them, and it will bless you in ways you cannot imagine. Discover real joy in the service of others. Those who know true joy of giving find too that they have been blessed with a wonderful life. And isn’t that what we all want for Christmas and beyond? (Matthew 25:34-40)