I'm not being ironic or cynical when I write that title, this is a wonderful time of the year. If you put a little energy into it. And by that I mean an infusion of joy. Whether it's Chanukah, Kwanza, Solstice, Christmas or, if you're an Atheist, simply a chance to go to a lot of parties and maybe get an unexpected present or two, the holidays are a celebration of joy. Light in the midst of darkness, warmth in the season of cold, hope in the face of despair. A child is born, a candle is lit, the sun rises. We feel the light and the warmth, and we are grateful.
Gratitude, I believe, is the prerequisite for joy.
Recovery is all about gratitude; recovery is all about joy.
Gratitude makes way for joy, because it clears out the cobwebs. Gratitude displaces meanness and pettiness and resentment and fear. Gratitude opens the door for generosity, and contemplation, and courage and joy. Gratitude makes us better people. Better recovering people.
Now I am not going to suggest any list writing or other homework-like exercises. This is certainly a busy enough time of year without adding more tasks. But I do suggest some simple self-inventorying. Check how you're feeling as you go about your day. Am I angry? Resentful? Tired? What do I need?
Ask yourself what you've got to give, not what you want to get.
When someone says something nice to you, like a thank you, don't blow it off.
If you find yourself brooding over past holiday hurts or losses, practice forgiveness.
If you feel like drinking or getting high, don't inflict it on yourself, your kids, your family. Get with some other recovering people and talk it through and let it go.
Let. It. Go.
And have fun!
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