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The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 4

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 4

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

Yes, it is time for the next part of the 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery series!

In the 12 Steps of many recovery fellowships, step 4 is all about being honest with yourself about the past and the defects of character that have led to some difficult times. It is an emotional examination of the self.

But in an effort to point the conversation in a different direction for Christmas, we present our own edit to this very important piece of the recovery process.

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 4

Step 4: Made a Searching and Fearless Christmas List

Well, now we start to get into some more exciting stuff. While normally people in recovery start to get a little nervous about step 4 of the 12 Step program, this list is sure to be a lot more entertaining. Instead of doing the searching and fearless moral inventory of one’s own actions and appraising the wreckage of the past, we will actually make our version a little more about the hope in the future.

In most 12 Step recovery fellowships, the 4th step is a detailed look at an inventory of things like resentments, fears, harms and character defects that can seem a little daunting to some. However, in my personal experience, it is NEVER as serious as some people would have you believe. It is just a list!

So to lighten up we are going to instead make this a searching and fearless Christmas list of goals or gifts just for you. You can start grandiose if you like; writing a Christmas list that looks more like a bucket list. You might imagine yourself in your dream car driving to the career of a lifetime. It might not seem possible right now, but a little bit of imagination and ambition might just give us the spark of inspiration to keep working hard and dreaming big. But it does not necessarily have to be material items.

Try some real searching inside yourself to see what kind of life you are looking for in recovery. What kind of person would you be if you chased your hopes and your dreams fearlessly? How would you treat the ones closest to you if you loved fearlessly?

What else would be possible if you were actively seeking out the thoughts and experiences and feelings on this list?

Give yourself the gift of hope…

While we have been talking about letting go of control over the holiday, we also have to remind you that it’s still your job to control your actions, which means you’re still responsible for your future. Set some obtainable goals for the season ahead. Making a fearless Christmas list is about asking yourself what you’re going to do with your new found freedom in sobriety. Then seek hope for that future.

For some of us, that list can be as simple as spending quality time with our families and friends, trying to make the most out of the holiday. So if you’re giving yourself the gift of hope, give others the gift of your presence.

But you can also stay focused on the now, making your list more about what you want to do now to be a better friend, spouse, sibling, parent or child. Do you want to reconnect and reconcile some of the ghosts of Christmas past? Do you want to grow stronger bonds with those in your life? Maybe you just want to be able to get through the presents, avoid emotional eating and family feuds without the urge to get hammered.

Whatever you decide you want to put on your Christmas wish-list, when you look back at it (checking it twice) it might give you a glimpse of where you are in your journey, and how far you have come.

Check yourself…

So in a way, we tricked you! It is kind of a personal inventory. If you made this an introspective list, it might remind you of where your character defects a showing through during the holidays. This could set the tone for some more in-depth reflection on how you’re handling the occasion. You might realize that the things you used to think mattered most don’t really measure up to the gifts of sobriety you have received.

At the end of the day, making a Christmas list is supposed to remind us of that youthful belief that anything is possible. We might not think Santa is going to drop a new career or car down the chimney, or stuff our stockings with a sense of purpose and serenity, but a kid can dream, right?

It might not be an inventory of our past, but it can give us a new respect for our growth and help us take stock in what we want out of our recovery.

As for the calling birds, we actually call that Tweeting now. It’s a thing.


Christmas in recovery can already seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Take some time during the holiday to pump yourself up for all you have gained so far, and get in the mindset to receive even more sooner than later. For those 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

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 1

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 1

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

In the spirit of the holiday season, we figure it is about time to not only celebrate love, giving and connection but also a time to celebrate the journey into sobriety many amazing people are on all around the world. As we reach the end of another interesting and exciting year, full of bittersweet memories as well as joy and hope, we thought it would be nice to give a sobering spin on one of the Christmas classics; the 12 days of Christmas. But honoring the legacy of 12 Step fellowships that have been such a life-changing foundation for many people recovering from drugs or alcohol.

We know that the holidays can also be a difficult time for those who may be separated from their loved ones for the season. They can certainly be a difficult time for those who are still struggling or who have loved ones suffering. So we want to spread a little bit of hope along with holiday cheer.

So for the days leading us to Christmas, we look forward to presenting all of our incredible followers and friends with our very own version of the 12 Steps of Christmas.

The 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery: Step 1Step 1: Admitting that I am powerless over the Holidays and they can make my life unmanageable


Forget the partridge in the pear-tree for the first day… let’s start off slow.

The fact is, the holidays will come around whether we are ready for them or not. I’m still trying to figure out how I survived the turkey and stuffing from November. Then BOOM here comes Christmas, with the gift giving and the family time and all that fun stuff. With all the tinsel and toys (yes, I still ask Santa for Batman action figures for Christmas) there comes a lot of stress and temptations for some people in sobriety.

Remembering Christmas with drinking…

Sometimes they want to join in “merriment” is pretty tempting. I know personally, the temptation to drink during Christmas was pretty much the same as every other 24 hours in early recovery; a lot. Lucky me, I got to spend my first sober Christmas in a holistic addiction treatment program. NICE! In all seriousness, it probably did save my life.

But I can remember the days when I used to drink with my loved ones on Christmas. After getting through the presents and coming together in the afternoon to spend time together, we would have food and drink together. The only problem, maaaaaybe some of us (ME) drank a little too much of the eggnog.

Whether or not you are a fan of “eggnog”, which in some families (or maybe just my family) tends to have a hearty serving of whiskey in the mix, there can be plenty of things about the holiday season that are tough to tussle with, especially in early sobriety.

Powerless over family…

We have to remember that our families are out of our control. All that dysfunction and colorful history with all the characters you call relatives can be, to put it mildly, exhausting and stressful. Sometimes our family members want to remind us of all the time we spent last year nodding out at Christmas dinner…

…or the time we threw up on the snowman in the backyard…

…or the time we sold all the presents under the tree and disappeared for a week…

…No? Just me?

Anyway, the truth is that when aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings all come together with the parents and grandparents and so on, reminiscing is just part of the package. Maybe for some (me, apparently), it is more painful than others. Or perhaps, maybe you still have that family member that is struggling. Perhaps they are the ones disappearing for days, drinking too much cider or even causing conflict due to their distressed state in active addiction. It can be incredibly disheartening.

Either way, it is important to remember that we are not in control of our loved ones. Early recovery for a lot of us is about learning acceptance and working through the adversities we face with humility. Family support in the recovery process is more important than most people realize.

Plus, an abundance of Christmas cookies can go a long way.

Working with that unmanageability…

The most important part of any holiday, especially this time of year, is the compassion and goodwill toward others this season is meant to inspire in us. As troubling as life can be, our efforts to share love and connection are the best way to work through that obstinacy.

No matter how unmanageable the family get-together can be, in recovery, we have to try and remind ourselves that all we are responsible for is giving as much love, compassion, and acceptance as we can, while still maintaining healthy boundaries.

So step 1 for the 12 Steps of Christmas is essentially trying to remember not to stress the small stuff, and to accept yourself and your loved ones.

As for the partridge… is that even a thing? Who has a spare pear tree these days anyway?

Spending Christmas facing the hurdles and hardships of addiction can be a daunting task, but take this opportunity to be more aware of what truly matters and what that means for your recovery. For those 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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