12 Days of Sobriety Challenges, I Mean Christmas: Part 3
by Kyle Beard on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
Welcome to the third and final blog on 12 Ways to Stay Sober this Holiday Season, or for those not in recovery, ways to make this holiday season less stressful. My hope is for everyone to find at least one way to help you handle chaos over this holiday season. Part 1 of this series focused on being pro-active, one of the most powerful methods of change in life. The idea seems simple: when you makes a plan before difficult situation, you are most likely to be have a better experience and outcome. Part 2 of the series looked at the impact of physical health on mental health. We humans are holistic creatures, therefore physical struggles can quickly bring about emotionally turbulence. Today’s blog will look at a third category: the impact of community and connection with others.
Any impactful addiction recovery program will possess a strong emphasis on creating a recovery community. We are not lone rangers fighting this battle alone. We don’t have all the answers. We are flawed beings. We all need help. Individuals with a strong recovery plan have realized and excepted this part of themselves and reach out for help regularly. For example, the 12 Steps themselves build upon the camaraderie of the program, and in-patient facilities use therapy groups as a core part of their programs. Our outpatient practice here in Denver highly encourages group therapy and 12 Step involvement. This isn’t simply because it’s helpful, but necessary for true recovery. Let’s take a look at four aspects of community anyone can use to complete our 12 Ways to Stay Sober this Holiday Season.
- Daily Phone Calls – A prominent part of our group therapy at RTC is an expectation for participants to talk with at least two other people from the group each week. A plethora of reasons exist behind this, but one of the main reasons is to stay connected to others outside of therapy. When we isolate, we can become stuck in our head where our negative thoughts can breed. Before we recognize it, we have built up an idea ten times greater than it truly is. Talking with a friend who knows us well can help ground us in reality. When my clients have a difficult situation before them, I strongly encourage calling someone daily to help them through the situation. Many see this as weakness, but calling others for help is the reality of being human. The fact is we aren’t built to do this alone.
- Spirituality – Almost everyone who I have encountered in my practice strengthens, re-engages, or develops a spiritual life while in recovery. What’s the reason? I believe it’s because we all need to believe in something bigger than ourselves, whether it’s God or the power of the group or something else. We realize we cannot face life alone. When you struggle with temptation, stress, or the like, connecting at a spiritual level can give you the strength to continue forward. This holiday season, make it a point to dedicate time to your spiritual journey. This may include church, synagogue, temple, journaling, prayer, meditation, and much more. When we are centered spiritually, as holistic beings, it brings emotional peace even in difficult times.
- Relationship Management – This holiday season, you may be around people who have hurt you, are difficult to connect with, or simply annoy you. Placing ourselves in situations where we have lengthy encounters with these people can be a recipe for trouble. Whether it’s at the holiday party or family dinner, try these simple things to help manage these relationships well. This is a simple concept, but difficult to practice in daily life. Don’t sit next to someone you know will irritate you in some way; instead, sit beside someone you enjoy their conversation. Walk up to those you struggle to be in relationship, say your pleasantries and wish them a happy holiday season, then move on to someone else for conversation. You made an effort to connect with them briefly, then made a decision to connect at length with someone else. There will be people with whom this will be difficult, but it’s a powerful act to maintain a low stress level. Think of it this way: would it be worse to slightly hurt someone’s feelings for not sitting next to them, or to sit beside them to quickly become irritated followed by saying something mean?
- 12 Step (Small Group) Meetings – For those who attend 12 Step meetings regularly, this final point is not a surprise. Every concept we’ve discussed thus far around community can be found in a healthy 12 Step or small group meeting. These are places created to connect you to others in your same position, to find support in difficult times, to meet people whom you may call in a pinch, or a to call when you are in a difficult emotional state. A close friend of mine recently visited me out in Denver. On Saturday afternoon, they took an hour and half to attend a 12 Step meeting. What was the result? They can back refreshed, happy, and excited to spend the rest of the weekend with my wife and I. Twelve Step meetings can be powerful acts of self-care, and also can be used when you need a little space or support.
There you have it everyone, 12 Ways to Stay Sober this Holiday Season (or for those not in recovery, 12 ways to make this holiday season less stressful). My hope and desire for everyone is to have the best holiday season yet. Hopefully, at least one or two of these twelve ideas will stick with you this holiday season. Though many of us are in recovery, myself included, it has allowed us to learn many amazing life skills to create the life we always imagined. May this new year be filled with limited stress, great community, and care for yourself. Happy Holidays everyone!
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