How to Enjoy the Holidays

What’s to enjoy? you ask yourself in the store that’s blaring the same holiday song, which you’ve heard ten times so far today. It’s only the week after Thanksgiving and already you feel the pressure and stress of the holiday season. Stop right there and consider being grateful for your sobriety. Can you be grateful you’re not at the bar with the fellows, or drinking the cooking sherry while concocting a meal? Can you be grateful you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to get home from the bar, or what will happen after you eat a rum ball, or lick the teaspoon dripping with vanilla extract?

Keep your sobriety support system strong. If you are newly sober, it is an especially good idea to attend as many meetings as you can, because the holidays can be filled with treacherous temptations.

Forget the holidays for a moment. Put away your lists. Trust that you will get everything done you want to before the day you are celebrating. Take a deep breath and drop down into yourself. Ask what will it take for me to live in the present moment? Is the busyness of the season keeping me from enjoying my life, the people and children I love? Can I slow down?

A lot of the way people contend with the holidays is habitual. It doesn’t have to be. You have the power to change your actions and attitudes, even if you’re already in the mire. Enjoying the holidays can be achieved by spinning your thoughts from negative to positive. For example, you’re out and about, and get stuck in a traffic jam. Instead of getting angry and worrying, turn the moment around and use it to your advantage. Listen to some beautiful choral music on the radio, or practice two to one breathing. Think of the time as a gift, a chance to reflect upon those you love, a time to be grateful for your sobriety. It may take some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Of course, noxious things can and do happen during the holidays of which we have no control. Thinking positively probably isn’t going to feel appropriate during such times, but you can use the residue, from cultivating a positive attitude, to help others. We will get through this. We don’t have to drink because of this. We can be grateful we have each other.

Every time you catch yourself with a negative thought, you shed light on a new path towards enjoying life and the holidays. Be well!

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”

― Alphonse Karr

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