Sanity and Sobriety in the Holiday Season – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT

    For recovering addicts, the holidays are a dangerous time of year. At the very least, we must deal with holiday expectations for love and connection and merry making. Often, we think our holidays should look like a Normal Rockwell painting, and when that doesn’t happen we feel disappointed, pressured, anxious, not good enough, and maybe even a little depressed. In the midst of all this stress, it’s easy to become a little crazed and to lose sight of what’s most important in our lives: our sobriety. Sadly, even addicts who are firmly grounded in recovery can revert to old patterns during this supposedly joyful season. When this happens, we need to pause and remind ourselves that without sobriety, there is zero chance of connecting with our loved ones and enjoying the holidays the way we’d like. If you’re worried about staying sober through the holiday season, it is useful to… Continue reading

    Preparing our Relationships for the Holidays – Jackie Stein, BALM Family Recovery Life Coach

        The Norman Rockwell version of the family holiday party exudes warmth, peace and connection. In a family with a loved one in early recovery, the mere idea of a family gathering can cause enormous stress. Before our loved one entered recovery, their method for dealing with this stress likely involved drinking or drugging. While intoxicated they could deal with the insanity surrounding preparation for and engaging in holiday parties. For those who are now in the early stages of recovery, especially in the first year, attending these functions will likely involve a great of fear, regarding how they can manage these festivities and stay clean and sober, while still enjoying the family time together. Several ideas come to mind. First, both the person in recovery and the family need to have a plan for how they will handle the holidays for themselves and for the family as a… Continue reading

    Connection – The Secret To Staying Abstinent During the Holidays

    Love it or hate it, holiday season is here! I was once a complete holiday cynic – and if I’m being perfectly honest – I still have tendencies towards that cynicism. But the festive season is a thing, and so, in my sober life I’ve tried to embrace it somewhat. I have abandoned the idea of moving to the jungle and living with a tribe of indigenous people who’ve never even seen a European never mind a shiny Christmas ball. That whole, if you can’t beat em, join em, idea applies here. Which brings me directly to my point. Connection – as opposed to complete isolation. The only way to realistically deal with the holidays, in my experience, is staying connected with other people who usually find the holiday season difficult too. Holiday time is hard for a person in recovery – to stay in recovery. Even the run up… Continue reading

    Holiday Depletion or Restoration; Finding a Balance – Kyczy Hawk

    The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! These words can strike anguish and fear, or excitement and anticipation. Or all of the above.  There can be feelings of gratitude and generosity, grief, guilt or anger. My childhood, my memories and my dreams can color my hopes for the upcoming six weeks. It takes attention and intention to avoid depleting my energy in frenetic preparation and to find moments to restore my mind, body and spirit to sanity. Yoga, meditation and breathwork help immeasurably to help me identify feelings of exasperation, excess and exhaustion. Any one of these, and any two together, much less three throw me out of balance and into a dangerous condition of pre-relapse mode. This is where I lose my allegiance to my recovery and let myself become emotionally intoxicated. When that happens I act in ways I used to behave, and lose my ethics, morals… Continue reading