Holidays can be difficult times for many of us. Each of us has our own reasons why. For some, our families are the reason we're in recovery. For some, our families just “push our buttons.” Family members can ignore our boundaries and dig under our skin. Sometimes, when we “go home,” we revert back to childhood roles and behaviors.
Holidays can be difficult because of expectations engendered by our past, or by society and the media. The holidays are “supposed to” be times of joy, happiness, and togetherness. If, instead, they are filled with loneliness or conflict, we can feel resentful or sad. We may never have the holidays of our dreams, we cannot capture the innocent enjoyment we had as children (if that was ever true for us.)
In recovery, we can find new ways to spend and even enjoy our holiday time. We can set aside expectations and live for the day, one day at a time. We can choose not to put ourselves in situations that trigger old feelings and behaviors. We can choose not to spend time with people who threaten our serenity.
A listener asked for suggestions of past episodes of The Recovery Show for the holidays. Here are my suggestions. If you have your own favorites, please email email@example.com or comment here.
- 62 – Changed Attitudes. “We believe that changed attitudes can aid recovery.”
- 45 – Chaos. Are your family holidays full of chaos?
- 5 – Choices. I don't have to follow others wishes, but can make my own choices.
- 12 – Detachment. Other peoples behavior doesn't have to drive my feelings and actions.
- 6 – Expectations. When I let go of expectations, I can enjoy what comes.
- 54 – Family of our dreams. “We may never have the family of our dreams,” (How Al-Anon Works, p. 47) but we can live with the family we have.
- 7 – Letting go. See “expectations,” above.
- 34 – One Day at a Time. We can get through almost anything one day or one moment at a time. If we must spend time in uncomfortable situations, this slogan can help.
- 39 – Self-Care. Taking care of ourselves can help us get through.
- 92 – Triggers. Does your family trigger you? How do we reduce our reactions to triggers?