12 Days of Sobriety Challenges, I Mean Christmas: Part 1
by Kyle Beard on Thursday, December 10th, 2015
The holiday season is hailed as “the most wonderful time of the year!” With the beautiful decorations hung everywhere, the season of gift giving, family get togethers, and more, I understand where this saying originated. The irony of this season is greatly understood by the many of men and women in recovery, who see the holiday season as a more of a risk for their sobriety.
One of my clients confessed to acting out over the Thanksgiving holiday, amazed by the amount of stress and frustration he felt. I looked him in the eye and said, “If you were surprised that was a difficult situation, we’ve got bigger issues to work on.” Here’s a different picture of the holiday season, dichotomous from “the most wonderful time of they year”: credit card debt from purchasing more gifts than one can afford, days or a week spent with family members, extremely long business days, no time for yourself, and the list continues. This idea has gained momentum, as evidence by the 2009 parody song, “The 12 Pains of Christmas,” that can be viewed here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yasSkqJBytk
My goal of this blog in to help everyone realize a truth many would prefer to ignore – the holiday season will push us to unhealthy levels and this can put our sobriety in risk. This blog series will highlight the powerful tactics we have at our disposal this season. We can make decisions now to have a healthy, sober holiday season. The power of being proactive with an upcoming risk situation is a constant conversation with my clients; therefore, I’m sharing these resources with anyone interested in reading. The following are the first four 12 Ways to Stay Sober over the Holidays:
- A Decision of Sobriety – The holiday season started weeks ago, and we are now in the full swing of everything it entails: highway traffic, crowded stores, purchasing gifts, etc. It’s never to late to make a firm decision of sobriety over the holidays. Whether you’ve been in recovery for a few weeks or few years, you know some practical actions to take to stay sober. Use them! Often people become so busy or overwhelmed around the holidays, they stop the activities which help them keep sobriety. Make the decision today to stay sober, be conscientious of your recovery daily, and make healthy decisions for yourself each moment of the day.
- You Are a Priority – The holiday season quickly becomes enveloped in the care, attention, and priority of others. The concept of giving to others is powerful – it’s the 12th Step – but not to your own detriment. Many of my clients feel they are being selfish for taking care of themselves. This cannot be further from the truth. Here’s a positive reframe: it’s not being selfish, it’s self-care. Self-care is doing the activities I need to be healthy, happy, and the person I desire to be. Something amazing happens after taking a short walk alone, reading a book on the couch, or participating in a hobby – we find that we are in a better mood afterwards. If someone chastises you for taking care of yourself this season, simply remember, I’m doing this for myself first, but everyone else will gain for me being in a better place.
- Nurturing Activities – So what do I really mean by taking care of myself? Taking care of yourself means participating in nurturing activities. The best description I use is this – what’s something that simply puts a smile only our face? I’m not looking for the inner addict to respond, but the person pursuing a healthy lifestyle. A few examples might include: exercise, listening/playing music, reading a book, meditation, being in nature, hobbies, connecting with a friend, a walk, journaling, and plenty more. There are dozens, hundreds of ways to nurture yourself. Take the time to take care of an important person – you.
- It’s Okay to Say “No” – The holiday season comes with a new level of obligation in a variety of ways. Regardless if you are in recovery or not, it’s okay to say “No” during the holidays. This applies to situations such as spending days without time alone, certain holiday parties, spending over you budget, etc. Many see “No” as an offensive word, it means you are being selfish or neglecting others, but in reality it’s accepting one’s humanity and finitude. We all have limitations. Those who live as if they are superhuman cause great pain to themselves and others when they find those limitations. Anger, resentment, bitterness, fatigue: these can come when you don’t take care of yourself.
These are the first for 12 Ways to Stay Sober over the Holidays. This blog will come as three parts to allow you to practice these four before the next four. I do not want to overwhelm you with 12 techniques, so take this week to practice these: make a decision of sobriety, remember you are a priority, find nurturing activities, and say no when needed. These are but a few ways to stay healthy through the holiday season. My hope is that these ideas will help you be proactive to have the best holiday season yet.
About Kyle Beard
Chris Simon founded Restorations Therapy Center to help those struggling with sexual addiction to discover health and wholeness for themselves as well as for their marriage and family. The havoc addiction brings is not compartmentalized to one area of life, but influences marriage, family, work, friendship and more. Chris experienced the turmoil of addiction in his own life. Through his own recovery journey, he strives to help others in the throes of addiction to experience the freedom and joy he lives today.
Chris received in Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health, working solely with individuals struggling with sexual addiction his entire
career. He trained under Dr. Tom Olschner, a psychologist working with sexual addictions for over thirty years, gaining a breadth of experience and knowledge from a renown therapist. A Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) is the only certification in existence for sexual addiction recovery, which Chris has pursued with fervor.
You can contact Chris via email at Chris@RestorationsTherapy.com or telephone at (720) 446-6585