Welcome one and all to Step 6 of our 12 Steps of Christmas in Recovery. Today we are talking about how that little bit of Grinch might slip out, and how to check ourselves before we Scrooge ourselves.
And no geese-a-laying… lazy geese!
Step 6: Become entirely ready to let go of the Ba Humbug.
In Step 5 we talked more about accountability and recognizing our Grinch-like moments. We encouraged you to speak up and have a support system to call on when things get tough, and now we are talking even more about letting go of those destructive feelings on Christmas.
Of course, the classic “A Christmas Carol” tells us about another infamous grumpy guy, Ebenezer Scrooge. Essentially, he and the Grinch are the same, except Scrooge isn’t a nappy ball of green fur who does B&Es. Instead, Scrooge has the privilege of being visited by some ghosts who show him visions that scare the Christmas spirit back into him.
Scrooge is notorious for his Ba Humbug, a statement made referring to his utter ambivalence toward anything remotely related to goodwill toward others or joy and cheer.
Well, we all tend to have a touch of that Ba Humbug attitude at least once during the holiday. But, much like the Scrooge-man himself, we have to learn to let it go. Hopefully, we all won’t need the ghost of our best friend haunting us to do it. In Step 5 we recognized our character defects and our negative reactions. Here in Step 6, we are making a more conscious effort to let go of our feelings of Ba Humbug and move on. In Step 5, we said we should admit these feelings to ourselves and someone else. This helps us to face what is bothering us and share it with our support. Now we try to move on from those feelings.
Learning about letting go…
Ebenezer Scrooge may have got over his Ba Humbug overnight, but it took a lot of work. Part of that work is preparing you to let go of the attitude or mindset that is making Christmas harder for you. If spending time with your family is proving more difficult than you planned, it’s OK.
Like we went over in the first few steps; we accept that we can’t change them, be open and willing to enjoy the holiday anyway. We make a list of things we would like to get out of the sober Christmas experience. Talk with someone about the negativity you may bring to the equation, and now we put ourselves in the head-space to let go of any bad attitude we are holding on to.
In a lot of 12 Step recovery literature, Step 6 is often talked about as being ready for your Higher Power to remove your defects of character. In essence, you are further recognizing your behavior and preparing to drop the old patterns and attitudes that caused so much chaos. You are asking for that which holds you back to be removed, whether by a god of your understanding or simply your own higher consciousness.
Let us suggest doing the same here for that case of the Humbugs you are carrying around. By whatever means seem adequate to you, seek to let go of the feelings or thoughts that are spoiling your Christmas spirit and keeping you from embracing the joy and connection of your friends and loved ones.
Change of heart…
Part of the reason Scrooge had such a change of heart is that he was shown in great detail how his past and present life were impacted by his Ba Humbug BS. Then, he was shown how staying on this path was going to be the end of him. For some of us in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, we have a similar view.
If our character defects are allowed to run rampant, we may find ourselves traveling down a destructive path that will lead us to relapse, which could absolutely be the end of us.
So, in the context of the holidays, we look at how continuing down a path of Ba Humbug with negativity and hostility, we can bring a less than cheery end to our own Christmas. Like Scrooge, we can have a dramatic impact on those around us in the present, because we already know what is has done in the past. If we have the self-awareness, we are able to see what this kind of state of mind can do to the future of our Christmas.
A change of heart, which is helped along by the previous steps like acceptance and self-awareness, is one way to make the best out of the bad situations or temptations some of us in recovery can come up against. Be ready and willing to let go of the Ba Humbug as soon as you catch it, so that you can help work toward a better time of merriment for those closest to you.