Welcome to another exciting edition of the 12 Steps of Christmas; our own take on the classic Christmas carol, with a sobriety-themed twist to try and bring some more compassion and insight to a cheerful time of year for those of us in recovery from drugs or alcohol. Substance use and addiction can make the season a tough time, but we want to help anyone who may be struggling or just people in recovery who need a little inspiration, to get in the right state of mind for the holiday.
Of course, we want to hear your feedback, and we are happy to share with our followers and friends more of the 12 Steps of Christmas.
Step 2: Came to believe a Power Greater than myself could restore my holiday cheer
You may remember that in Step 1 of Christmas we talked about unmanageability and about how the holidays and our loved ones are pretty much out of our control. So then what do we do?
Well, for this one the 2 turtle doves probably aren’t going to cut it. For those familiar with the 12 Steps used in many recovery fellowships, there comes the concept of believing a Power Greater than yourself can help you out. Now for some, this can be the most difficult aspect of 12 Step programs because any implication of concepts like faith or spirituality can create contempt or frustration. People may resist this idea, thinking it is pushing a certain god or religion onto them.
Some people think Santa is more realistic than a god. Well, fine… try delivering presents to all the nice kids in the world in one night with only a few reindeer and a belly full of Oreo cookies! Now THAT is a power greater than you, for sure!
St. Nicholas with the mic drop!
We are not here to argue the idea of any god. We aren’t trying to force anyone into some kind of religious epiphany or preach any gospels. But, for those who are open to exploring the idea of a Higher Power; it can be extremely helpful when we talk about the struggles we face during stressful holidays.
Step 2 is all about finding the willingness to believe something outside of yourself can help you through this holiday. Sure, you should also be aware of yourself and your actions. But be open to the idea that you don’t have to force the holiday to be special, it just is.
Tis the season for believin’ dude!
Rejoicing without religion…
Now, of course, one thing is that not everyone celebrates Christmas in the first place. Different religions and cultures celebrate in various ways during this time of year.
We are pleased to wish everyone a Happy Chanukah, a Joyous Kwanzaa, and everything in between. In no way are we saying sobriety depends on your commitment to a faith during any holiday. For those who find themselves celebrating Christmas, there can be a great deal of diversity in how you celebrate and why. Even though is it historically a Christian holiday, plenty of non-Christians, atheists, and agnostics still celebrate. According to the 2014 General Sociological Survey:
- 21% of the American population does not identify with a religion
Younger people tend to be the majority of these trends. Yet, according to a new Pew Research Center survey:
- 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas
- 95% of Christians say they celebrate Christmas
- Only 46% of Americans say they celebrate as primarily a religious (rather than cultural) holiday, down from 51% who said this in 2013
So, with so many people not subscribing to the traditional guidelines of the Christianity, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas without needing to fall in line. In early recovery, a lot of people are still trying to find a foundation to build some kind of understanding of spiritual concepts. So now isn’t the time to push them too hard in one direction or another. Just use this time as a chance to be more open to the joy and cheer that come your way.
You don’t have to be “spiritual” to be in the Christmas spirit…
For those who consider themselves spiritual or faithful, connection with your Higher Power can be the key to getting through the holidays. Some may view this time of year as a specific celebration of their faith and therefore should take every opportunity to remind themselves through the difficulties they face in recovery to appreciate and honor that connection to family and friends.
For those who do not consider themselves spiritual or faithful, you might even consider the holiday itself to be a source of power. The energy and the atmosphere it creates between people might be just enough to help you feel even more compassion and connection to those you love. Even if people don’t want to spend their Christmas in church or in prayer, you can still take the time to connect with your family and friends. Maybe that is what will restore your holiday cheer; the love you have with those you are close to. It doesn’t have to be a god or a faith, just be grateful and present for these moments.
Recovery from substance use disorder gives us the opportunity to cherish things and celebrate life in a new way. Believing that something bigger than you, even if it just Santa Clause or the Christmas spirit, can help bring the joy back into experiencing the holidays with your family and friends. Try to appreciate the chance to be clean, sober and with the people who mean the most to you. If nothing else, that is powerful beyond measure.
And leave some cookies and milk out… just in case.