Holidays can be difficult times for those in early recovery. The influx of family, the feelings of regret, and the emotions that can surface, can at times, be overwhelming.
Unresolved conflicts can come to a head. Guilt, remorse, resentment, and anger have a tendency to come alive during these times.
It’s important to understand that any lack of diligence toward the required actions in the 12-step recovery program will most often be the cause of the resultant turbulence.
The Twelve and Twelve states that you will want to and should begin making amends very quickly where the family is concerned. One must do their best to admit wrongs and express a willingness to set things right – and then explain what that will look like to those who one has wronged. This will not be protection against negative behavior from family members, but it goes a long way toward minimizing the emotional hangovers these situations can cause.
Understanding where you have been wrong – step 4; becoming honest about your harms – step 5; becoming willing to start on a new design for living – step 6; humbly asking for help to achieve this – step 7; becoming willing to set right the wrongs one has committed – step 8; and going to these people with an attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation – step 9, will make one ready to participate in these relationships on new footing. This adds power to stay calm and collected in the face of people and behavior that normally upsets one’s spiritual equilibrium.
It’s not the drinking or people at these gatherings that is the danger; it’s our unpreparedness to interact as a newly sober person that will lead to the trouble. Recovery takes work.
Be prepared, make the amends that you owe and enjoy your time with your family. These moments don’t last forever.
Chris Schroeder is the Director of Media for C4 Recovery Solutions. In his role with C4, he has been tasked with hosting and developing the webcast show, The Afflicted and Affected, interviewing leaders in the addictive illness field and other interesting personalities revolving around the recovery world. Chris comes into contact with those who research and apply the latest methods of treatment and those who are a force in positive change in outcomes and funding both politically and in the media.