Lately I’ve noticed attendance is kind of low at my regular meetings. It’s summer, and people are vacationing, and I find myself wondering, are my sober sisters and brothers attending meetings wherever they are? I don’t mean this in an inventory-taking kind of way; rather, I am genuinely interested. I love finding meetings when I travel to other cities––or even countries. Today’s guest post talks about attending AA meetings no matter where you are.
So much symbolism in this holiday, and at this time of year for those of us in recovery. Long days to live life to the fullest… Independence Day for our country – it’s a birthday – take a chip, USA. Some of the freedoms we hold dear in recovery are ideals, concepts, and things we strive for – which is also true for us as a country… progress not perfection. But today and this month, let’s honor the freedoms we have created for ourselves – and that is MUCH to celebrate!
Back in the day, you loved to party. Whether you got drunk or high, it was how you had fun. Well, not really. It took you a while to realize it, but substance abuse was an attempt to run away from problems, and it wasn’t very successful. Eventually, you realized you wanted (and needed) to stay sober. After some hard work, you managed it. You began your new life in addiction recovery, and you’re rightfully proud of what you’ve accomplished. But then you hear about the party. It sounds fun and repulsive at the same time. Can you have a social life while in addiction recovery?
A sober summer can be stress-free and enjoyable… if you manage it right. I got sober in May in the gorgeous beach town of Encinitas, California. It was glorious, summer-like weather year-round and surfers, yoginis and healthy vegans populated the landscape. Enjoying my first sober summer was pretty stress-free—in most regards. Besides the crying, agitation, anxiety, not sleeping or oversleeping, I was able to be sober and hang out with my sober pals, and it sure did make that first sober summer enjoyable.
Though it may be hard to believe at first, being sober over the holidays doesn’t have to be dull. When you come up with a plan, and stop and focus on the reasoning behind your sobriety, you’ll remember why it’s important. And once the holidays pass, you’ll be glad you didn’t give in to temptations. That’s a promise.
Ahhhhhh…..the holidays—they are approaching like a speeding train. This is a season that can be bittersweet—for the great expectations that so many people have can often lead to disappointment. Seeing family and friends can be a blessing, but at the same time lead to additional seasonal stress. Answering the same questions over and over again can trigger intense emotions. Did you graduate yet? Are you still at that lousy job? Any kids? Are you still single? And comparing yourself to your seemingly “perfect” family members with their high-powered jobs, wonderful marriage and 2.5 children can be a recipe for the holiday blues.
To everyone receiving this email here’s knowing for you: A Holiday Season of Serenity, Reflection, Connection, and Fun! Knowing we all continue to experience the freedom of sobriety as we prepare to turn a page on the calendar and to peel more layers of the onion. Knowing we are guided and guarded in the final days of this year and all throughout the expansive new year ahead. Affirming that we are filled with empowering thoughts, actions, and fully engaged with ongoing personal growth and unfoldment.
The holiday season can be a joyous time, but for those in recovery from drug or alcohol addictions, it can also be a minefield. High expectations, over-commitment, and fatigue can lead to heightened emotions and mood swings. Travel and busy schedules increase stress. You might be away from your support network and routines, enhancing a feeling of isolation. Holiday customs, memories, and events associated with alcohol or other drug use may tug at you. But there are ways to prepare for this high-risk season and safeguard the greatest gift you ever gave yourself and those you love: your sobriety.