Friends In Recovery Answered
Question 1: What advice would you give to maintain recovery during the holidays?
Expectations—— flexibility and acceptance.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is the inability to be
with family because they have passed on. What helps me in
this situation is I/we are planning to spend the holidays with
a group of recovering people
who are intending to offer love, support, fellowship and fun.
If I am going to be traveling, then I find out where the
alcoholism treatment meetings
are close to where I am going and I plan ahead. My family
all knows that I am in recovery and they don’t take it as an
insult if I feel the need to leave for just an hour or so. In
fact most of them have used that time as an opportunity to
attend open meetings with me. Then they get to see and
hear a little of what is so very important in my own recovery.
For the rest, I just limit my party going to those that are
with friends in recovery - who ever knew that Dirty Santa
could be fun sober.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is watching all the
church people do their thing when I do not feel all that
“churchy”. I remember I have a disease and I can talk to my
Higher Power anywhere, anytime because I have His special
~Grandpa Jerry P.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is being around drunk
relatives. What helps me in this situation is I can decide
when enough is enough and have my other family in
to turn to. I have learned not to have to put up with it.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is not remembering
much about the previous 35 seasons because I spent them
drowning myself in the bottom of a bottle instead of relishing
in the joys I should have experienced sober. I now know the
pain I must have caused my family and the few true friends I
had left. What helps me in this situation is the acceptance
that I am an alcoholic now, plus continually working the AA
steps and attending daily
alcoholism treatment meetings
as much as possible. If I am as fortunate to enjoy the season ahead as I did for the
first time last holiday season, I won’t dwell on the past or the
looming future. One day at a time with sobriety is my primary
focus now. The future will come on its own.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is over booking my
schedule in an effort to meet expectations of others and
sometimes my own unrealistic expectations. What helps
me in this situation is keep a calendar and look at it, before
I say yes or no... and not feeling guilty to say “no” to
something that isn’t good for me.
~TS in Nebraska
The most stressful thing at the holidays is: Feeling alone!
What helps me in this situation is making sure I’m around
loved ones. You can’t stay isolated, isolation is akin to
alcoholism, and the two of them want to get you off by
yourself so they can kill you.
The most stressful thing at the holidays (for me) is the amount
of travel involved to visit with family members. What helps
me in this situation is to be prepared with an alcoholism treatment meeting list (you
can find these online) for each city that I will be in during
the holiday time.
Stress at the holidays? Dealing with relatives from both sides
of the family. My solution? I keep all visits very short.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is large gatherings.
What helps me in this situation is the Serenity Prayer and
sneaking home early!
The most stressful thing at the holidays is being alone
without a significant other. What helps me in this situation
is going to extra meetings thus realizing I am not alone and
many others are equally stressed, but maybe for different
The most stressful thing at the holidays is my family. What
helps me in this situation is prayer and regular alcoholism treatment meetings.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is family. What
helps me in this situation is stay a distance away/other room/
The most stressful thing at the holidays is not being around
family and friends that support my new way of life. What
helps me? I know I’ve done something great for myself and
that God can now protect me.
What helps me in this situation is ...getting started early
(like now) and wrapping each gift at the moment I get it
home, keeping all receipts in an envelope along with a detailed
list of each gift purchased and who it’s for. (making sure I
also put a tag on the gift and number it with the same number
on the list!) Then I put them in a safe place like a locked
closet. I never put them under the tree until Christmas eve
either. Instead, I buy nice wrapping paper and wrap fake
gifts for decoration. I store those with the Christmas tree if
they have survived the season.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is time. What helps
me in this situation is prayer.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is shopping. What
helps me in this situation is buy items during the year.
The most stressful thing at the holidays is Trying to please
everyone & be everywhere. What helps me in this situation
is Setting REALISTIC goals & sticking to them.
~ Julie R.
The most stressful thing at the holidays are family and friend
get-together’s. What helps me in this situation is to attend alcoholism treatment
The most stressful thing at the holidays is: My parents pour
themselves a drink right before we open gifts, and after gifts
we drive to Hays to see my uncle and family at their big
Christmas party where everyone is drinking, minors included.
The hardest of all is New Years Eve when everyone is popping
the champagne. What helps me in this situation is: thanking
my higher power for giving me another year to celebrate life
and family. Praying repeatedly gets my mind off the alcohol
and it really helps me. At New Years I buy a big bottle of
Welch’s sparkling grape juice and I smile to myself because
it’s good, and I know I won’t be the one with the hangover in
the morning and I can truly enjoy the new year.
The most stressful thing at the holdays is family gatherings.
When I show up they are uncomfortable drinking around
me and sometimes even hide it. It makes me feel unwanted.
What helps me in this situation is to remember that no one
is born a winner or a loser— but a chooser and when it
compromises my serenity I choose to take myself out of the
Question 2: How do I protect my recovery during the stressful,
party-filled holiday season?
My 22nd consecutive holiday season is coming up this year and
I have protected my sobriety in the same way every year. Each
year I go to alcoholism treatment meetings, read the big book, talk to my sponsor,
help others and pray and meditate. I was told early on that the
Holidays are just another day of the year and treat them the
same way that I would a Tuesday in March! Also, when going to
family, work or friendly events I always drive so that I can leave
if it were to get uncomfortable. I have to remember that my job
is to add to and not try to get something out of these events. I
learned early on that it is best to avoid expectations as most
events can never live up to the expectations my mind puts on
them. By doing this I do not have to experience the
disappointment that goes with unmet expectations. Have a great
sober and sane holiday season.
Protecting my recovery during the holiday season can be a trying
task. It is important to me to stay close to my sponsor and my
friends in AA. I also have to remember to be grateful for my
life today. I have been clean and sober now for a year and a half.
During this time I have experienced difficult times with my
health. On my one year sobriety birthday, I had an infection in
my brain that I did not know about. I went into a coma exactly
one year sober. I stayed in a coma for three days and when I
woke up my memory was wiped out. It has been a long summer
trying to rehabilitate and to not slip into a depression or relapse.
So, being grateful and remembering to practice acceptance has
been the most important thing in my life right now.
~Thanks, Michele M
I surround myself with family and friends. I remember that the
life I live today would not be possible if I were still drinking. I
also remember the true meaning of Christmas. I just think how
great I will feel on January 1st, still sober and without a hangover
How do I protect my recovery during the stressful, party-filled
season? When I’m going through a stressful time I make
sure I go to A LOT of alcoholism treatment meetings and I talk to my sponsor daily.
As far as party’s, if I know alcohol is going to be there I take a
SOBER FRIEND with me. Also you can go a little late and
leave early. That way you did attend but your not around alcohol
for hours. Thanks,
Never lose track of the fact that my sobriety has to come
FIRST! I try to find the meetings well in advance of any travel
and I double up on the readings. I sometimes put the sponsor
on high alert!
My committment to a new way of life is what keeps me
serene...even during the holidays~it’s one day at a time and
setting/keeping boundaries with those who are not good for us
(sometimes family) The one thing is attitude-looking at life as an
opportunity rather than an obligation...examining what I can bring to
share rather than how I might react. I love the holidays especially
because I remember all too well how much I used to dread them
and I am happy to be on the “other side” of loneliness and
hopelessness~ Bless you and all you do,
It’s easy for me to protect my recovery during the Holiday
Season. I checked into Parker Valley Hope Treatment a week after
Thanksgiving and “graduated” 3 days after the New Year. All I
have to do is remember that I learned the true meanings of
love, giving, sharing and happiness there. I remember being
worried about waking up all alone on Christmas morning at
rehab. I was sure it would be the loneliest day of my life. It was
anything but! There was one present under the tree for me and
it was the best one I have ever gotten...a Serenity Christmas
tree ornament. I have been proud to hang it on my tree every
year for the last 4 years. I got some other wonderful presents
that year as well... sobriety, a second chance at a life that I cherish,
the opportunity to get to know my family again, and most
important of all, my dignity. Spending the holidays at Parker
Valley Hope was a Christmas Miracle I will never forget!
How do I protect my recovery? For me, it’s as easy as (Steps)1-
2-3. Today, like any other day, I have a choice to make. Not a
plan. Do I give-in to my alcoholism today? My answer is “No”.
Then easy, because, I am powerless ,and my life wasn’t REAL.
Today, my house is a home, and in that home is a family, not
just people who live there. I also have friends today who are
honest and giving and not people who want to take and deceive.
Today I have a job to do, not just a place to go to put in my
time. I wouldn’t have any of this without my sanity, which was
restored to me by my Higher Power, who I choose to call God.
Today I choose to turn my will and my life over to His care
because of what He has blessed me with. This is the part of the
program I am very selfish about, but I can’t help it, because He
is a God of My understanding, not yours or anyone else’s, sorry.
Those are the 3 things I have to remember, and I can’t do it
alone, without my God, my family, and the fellowship and the alcoholism treatment
meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. I hold my life today in my
right hand and I hold my past in my left. I need them both.
Today I choose the right because the past has left. Holiday times
are a stressful time , but the choice is yours. Ask for His care
and protection, and always remember, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. Thank
you for letting me share....
I am about 5 months sober now. I have been in and out of AA
for about 10 years prior to treatment. To protect my fragile
sobriety I try very hard not to put myself into situations where
I worry there will be trouble. I have also been working towards
realizing my triggers, and realized recently that I tended to drink
when there was so much other stuff going on that I thought it
would be lost in the chaos. It never was. I also did not have
enough spirituality to keep me sober. I am working on that by
praying a lot. I also have been making an effort and going to
church and being willing to do what I need to do to stay sober.
Question 3: How do you practice meditation? Do you have
any helpful hints for the newcomer in recovery?
Yes, since I am a devout christian I read a daily devotional called”
MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST”, by OSWALD
CHAMBERS…..I go outside in my backyard every morning
around 5:30 am where it is very quiet! I sit and read the devotion
for the day, read the bible scripture that is associated for the
devotion of the day, sit quietly & reflect on it, and just try and
see what GOD is pointing out to me through this verse, and if
I am listening to him and obeying? How can I apply it to my life
today? In the evening, I repeat this but I also have the “MY
UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST JOURNAL” so I re-read the
daily verse and journal on it and how I applied it to my life that
day. Then I pray and reflect on all GOD’S blessings from the
day, this has really helped me to become closer to GOD , and
understand his will for me. I hope this helps someone.
I think it’s most important to know that there’s no “right way”
to meditate. It’s a very personal experience and therefore each
person may have different ways that work best for them. Listen
to others experiences with it, try different ways until one clicks
with you. And practice, practice, practice. Clearing my
thoughts and slowing down my mind was nearly impossible at
first, but I kept practicing. Maybe just a minute or two at first
was all I could do and 6 months later I am doing better. Even
a few minutes of peace is more than I ever had while actively
My prayer and meditation is the first thing I do every morning.
I never get out of bed without hitting my knees first. I ask
God to bless & protect my family & friends throughout the
day. I also ask him to remove my difficulties so I can be of
maximum service to him throughout the day. I ask him to use
me and direct my steps. My meditation is followed with a cup
of coffee on my balcony early in the morning, as I listen to the
birds and watch the sun come up. When I surrender my will
to him, my day is always so amazing and full of “little” God
things. In the evening, I thank him for all the wonderful
blessings he has given to me and most of all - another day of
How do I practice meditation? My daily steps are as follows:
1. Before my feet hit the floor...I thank God that I am sober
2. Hit the floor and pray
3. Read my Daily Reflections
4. Plan my day. What am I WILLING to do today to remain
sober? It almost always consists of contacting some of my
friends in recovery. (either by phone, email or in person). It
seems pretty simple, but it works for me.
I read almost every morning from the Twenty Four Hours-Daily
Reflections and One Day at a Time books. I say a morning
prayer asking my Higher Power to help me be a better person
and keep me clean and sober JUST FOR TODAY! ADVICE
TO NEWCOMER: 90 IN 90! I know for me, the first few
months of sobriety were hell. I didn’t know which way to turn
or whether to s— or go blind! So I went to alcoholism treatment meetings
sometimes 3 or 4 a day. I LISTENED, looked for the
SIMILARITIES in peoples stories and TOOK
SUGGESTIONS from others that seem to be normal now
but had once been EXACTLY where I was at the time. They
had hope, where I had none, they seemed peaceful and
content, which I was not, in other words, these people had
something I WANTED. By following their suggestions,
getting a sponsor, working the steps and KEPT COMING
BACK, I am well on my way to recovery after 17 months! I,
like so many of you, thought it was impossible, but I am
living proof - IT WORKS IF YOU WORK IT! Your friend
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