Toward the end of my run out there, a raucous Christmas party took place annually, full of loud and lively people I barely knew. Although there was food by the ton, mostly there was booze. Booze was the theme, the centerpiece, and the focus – a chance to toast and get toasted. In my Christmas past, it felt like big fun. Once I got sober, I didn’t attend for a few years.
Fall is my favourite season, always has been. I love the colours, I love the cool air, and I love the sound of walking through fallen, dried leaves. I even like a cloudy fall day because even though the sky is cloudy and dull, the beautiful oranges and reds and yellows showcase a beauty that will not be shown up by a grey sky. I recently returned from a month long work tasking on a ship. It’s amazing how small you can feel on the upper decks of a ship surrounded by nothing but ocean and blue sky. No land as far as the eye can see.
Take a walk or a ride around after dark and look at the night sky– the moon, the stars, and at this time of year, the beautiful, twinkling, sparkling Christmas lights . . . Put on music and dance around, alone or together – salsa, waltz, rock n roll, tango, disco . . . Sit silently outside in a naturally beautiful place for 30 – 60 minutes, deeply inhaling the fragrance . . . Find a friend that makes you laugh, and generate laughter . . .
Pretty much every recovering addict knows about 12-step meetings, sponsorship, working the steps, and going to therapy. And much of the time those tools are enough to establish and maintain early sobriety. Over time, however, addicts inevitably encounter situations where those highly useful forms of support are not available. In such cases, it is wise to have at least a few other tools of sobriety on which to rely.
With deep appreciation, I look back and reflect on this precious month, grateful for all the ups and downs of my human experience, and grateful for the perfection of my spiritual experience. I am extremely grateful to be in recovery, free from addictive substance and behavior, and grateful for the freedom I have to choose empowering thoughts, ideas, and actions in all situations. I am thankful for everything and everyone that serve as my teachers and remind me to open my eyes and stay awake to the lessons and blessings that surround me.
We are entering the time of year when parties, family get-togethers, and excessive eating, drinking and merriment can create difficult or at least tricky situations for those in recovery. Thanksgiving in particular can be a challenging time. Family interaction is often expected and it may be the first family get-together in a while.
For a second I forgot that I am not running the show. Phew, what a relief! My house on Thanksgiving will be a house divided. About half the people showing up are happy, the other half horrified with the election results, mimicking the nation’s mood. This will be the first time this particular constellation of people will be together.
Radical acceptance is an alternative to labeling situations, things, or people as “good” and “bad.” It’s settling into the space that opens up when we stop reacting so strongly to outcomes. This space for me takes the form of my thoughts, breathing, and sight slowing to a pace where I can take in and touch the sense of immense beauty and wonder in the world: the breeze against the trees, a smile on my loved ones face, opportunity that can come from loss, and the little things to be grateful for throughout my busy days.