“Life gives you plenty of time todo whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Witches, Goblins, Turkeys, Pumpkins…. Santa Claus, Elves and Mistletoe ….These are some of the magic of the holidays that most of us hope for as Fall and Winter approach. Unfortunately, when addiction has stolen the show and created fear, depression, and anger, the magic quickly vanishes and we are left with disappointment rather than peace, heartache rather than joy, and drama rather than special memories. Staying sober during the holidays, whether it is your first time or your tenth time, can be challenging when the magic has been tainted with memories of being passed out, high, alone and lonely. Creating new memories in sobriety, full of joy and delight during the holidays is critical in order to transform this season into the magical time that snowflakes and reindeer bring.
5 Tips to Creating Joyous Holidays In Sobriety
1. Create a list of Values
2. Create an Intention
3. Practice Forgiveness
4. Practice Mindfulness
5. Practice Generosity
1. Create a list of your VALUES. Take some time to write down what your values are …family, peace, friendship, loyalty, honesty, health, playfulness …Values are deeply held beliefs that guide us in our lives. Values can serve as your compass, directing you toward a life of fulfillment and integrity. Taking the time to write down your values can help you focus your intentions for the holidays.
2. Create an INTENTION for yourself for the holidays based on your values. Take some time to write down what your intention is for each holiday and for the holiday season. For example, if you value health and family connectedness, your intention may be to ‘celebrate the holiday season with my closest family in a peaceful, joyful and thoughtful way’ or to ‘be patient and kind during the holiday season’ or ‘celebrate Christmas and New Years sober and present’. Creating an Intention also helps you set your course and helps you stay committed to your vision.
3. Practice FORGIVENESS of Self and Others. Often we begin the holiday season full of remorse from past transgressions, especially in early sobriety or resentment towards others. Taking the time to ‘let go’ of the past, forgive oneself and others is a crucial part of enjoying the present. Here is a wonderful practice by Phillip Moffitt to say to yourself as often as you need to (https://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/forgiveness-practice):
To those whom I may have caused harm, knowingly or unknowingly, through my thoughts, words and actions, I ask your forgiveness.
To those who may have caused me harm, knowingly or unknowingly, through their thoughts, words and actions, I offer my forgiveness as best I am able.
For any harm I may have caused myself, knowingly or unknowingly, through my thoughts, words, and actions, I offer my forgiveness as best I am able.
4. Practice MINDFULNESS, staying in the present and being curious. Mindfulness is the state of being curious, without judgment…of being aware of the present moment, noticing your thoughts, feelings and sensations. Mindfulness is a practice that you can do throughout the day. You can start with bringing your attention to your breath and then acknowledge any sensations, emotions, thoughts, sounds you may be experiencing. The key is to acknowledge with curiosity, not judgement. Just notice. Breathe. For more practice and explanations, check out this great resource: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition
5. Practice GENEROSITY of time, understanding and love. Along with forgiveness, GENEROSITY is a key to joyous holidays. Being generous with time, patient and purposeful with your actions is an important gift you can give yourself and others. Being generous with understanding, asking for clarity and not making assumptions can lead to joyful, warm and loving connections with others. Being generous with your love, willing to be vulnerable with safe people and express your feelings can lead to a blessed season.
You deserve a holiday season filled with magic and laughter, peace and love, wonder and abundance. Take time to listen to yourself and create the experiences that fill your spirit with adventure, joy and spirit.