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The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 3

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 3

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Guess what folks… we are in Step 3 of our 12 Steps of Christmas series! We are happy to share our ideas on how the 12 Steps most commonly associated with fellowships for alcohol or drug addiction recovery can actually be applied to other aspects of life. These concepts on self-awareness, reflection and compassionate action have such incredible value, that formatting them to talk about the stresses of the holidays seems like a pretty good way to spread some Christmas spirit and cheer.

We look forward to reading your comments and seeing what you think can be done to help support people in recovery during the Christmas season! While relapse is always something to protect against, the stress from relationships you may still be in the process of repairing can be pretty intense itself.

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 3

Step 3: Made a decision to turn your Holiday over to the care of your Higher Power.

Some people are probably reading this one like “PAUSE, we already did the talk about the Higher Power stuff in Step 2, don’t wanna do it again!” So before you get too worked up, let’s just relax. We remind you that this isn’t about trying to sell you on any specific concept of a god, or an established faith, or a belief system. We are not trying to recruit you.

That being said, we will talk about the whole Higher Power business a bit more, but not much.

But first, can we talk about the “French hens” from your true love… I mean, what is so French about them, anyway? Do they eat croissants? Isn’t this discrimination against hens? I demand an explanation!

When we say turn your holiday over to this Higher Power, we are not saying your sobriety for Christmas will be contingent on whether or not you have accepted a certain god into your life. Some people think when we talk about turning control over, it means you get to cop-out and take no responsibility.

Have a little faith in the holiday spirit…

Going back to the beginning in Step 1 of Christmas, we know that things with our families or friends can be unmanageable; meaning we are not always in control of how everyone gets along during the holidays. We are not in control of which uncle starts arguing about politics at the dinner table, or of which aunt decides to try and cook for the first time since that one year that nobody brings up anymore. You can’t control how many pairs of socks you unwrap this year, or how many times you hear the same carols over… and over… and over!

You also aren’t in control of how others may react to your sobriety either. If they are doubtful, suspicious or even overbearing, you cannot change them by force. It might just take some patience and some follow-through. Once we can accept that we are not in control of everything, we can learn to let go and try to have some of that ‘faith’ stuff people keep talking about.

Most of all, you can’t control anyone else’s feelings. In recovery from addiction, we learn to let other people be who they are, and to try to be the best version of ourselves in response. We learn to bring all the joy to the world we can without drugs or alcohol, and let the rest take care of itself.

Like in Step 2, we can either put that faith in a God of our understanding, in a Higher Power or belief system we have, or simply in the goodwill toward others that we always hear about during Christmas time. Just giving up the attempt to control the holidays and allowing yourself to be present in the celebration can make Christmas so much easier.

Control and responsibility aren’t always the same…

The idea that being responsible means always being in control is a foolish way to look at the world. The truth is turning things over helps you focus your responsibility for what you actually can control.

No one is always in control of everything in their lives, even the most powerful and influential people on earth. Sometimes the mistletoe of life catches you off guard. Whether we like it or not, life has a way of surprising us. So when we talk about turning things over to something outside yourself, we mean relinquishing some control, not responsibility.

Of course, you still have to be responsible for how you react, and how you treat others. During the holiday chaos, we can still be considerate of their discretions or even their suspicions of our recovery. It isn’t really the purpose of hour Christmas to win them over. We can simply try to apply all that we have learned and all we are trying to accomplish to show people we care about doing better. We can still set our boundaries and be responsible for maintaining them, even with our families.

You still might find some lumps of coal in the stockings, but at least you know in recovery you are strong enough to take some lumps and keep it moving.

Forget the French hens though, I don’t know if I trust that.

Surviving Christmas with the family sometimes means turning things over and only taking responsibility for yourself. In recovery, you have a new chance at loving your family and friends the way you always meant to. Maybe that means accepting the gift as it is. But if you or someone you love is still struggling during the holiday, ask for help. Please call toll-free now. You are not alone.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 2

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 2

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

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.

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 2Step 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.

Take some time this year to be open to the joy of the holidays, even if you don’t know where that cheer comes from. If you are struggling this holiday season, ask for help; not just for your family but, for yourself. Give yourself and those who love you the most the best gift you can. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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