We know that the holiday season can be stressful, but we also know that it doesn’t have to be. In recovery, we have the tools to set stress aside and relish in the peace and clarity of our new perspective. This year, we’re making mindful choices that bring us, and the festivities, the greatest good. In 15 minutes a day, from the 1st until the 24th of December, we hope to help you strengthen your recovery values as you take care of yourself first. Let recovery principles guide you as you allow your spirit to be strengthened through the grace and meaning of the season. Read with us, meditate on the meaning it holds for you, and lend your personal insight. #TogetherWeGrow
Change the Narrative About Christmas In Recovery
What’s Done is Done
Perhaps the reason behind the season has been clouded under years of addiction past. Understand that this is of no greater consequence than you have already suffered. “It is what it is. This is now.” This year, as you embrace the season in sobriety, may all the grace and love in your heart be returned to you.
Here And Now
We all know that it’s easy to buy into the idea that the holidays are a time of stress and emotional surges, and yet, we forget that we hold great influence over how that plays out in our lives. We will not let each other forget. When we choose to focus on the innate essence of recovery through gratitude and presence, we prevail over all forces that could diverge us from this path.
Let’s GO! With poise, we steady ourselves with all the tools that we have been given and tread out onto this new month with courage, confidence, and our army of support.
24 Sober Tips To A Stress-free Christmas
’Tis the paramount season of loving self-care. As we change the narrative surrounding the hustle and bustle, we ground ourselves steadily in the beautiful season of sentiment and joy. One day at a time, we keep our minds clear, our natural endorphins up, and our motivations close at hand. One moment at a time, we strengthen our resolve to live out our recovery with ease. The dignity of our choices builds a Christmas experience that is anything but blue. Happiness starts with you, and your health starts at home. “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.”
1. Simplify Your Schedule
Your level of “busyness” is a choice, especially during the holiday season. Even when the rest of the world may seem increasingly frenzied in their efforts as the days go by, you can consciously choose to not get swept away with them. One day at a time, one thing at a time, we are choosing the ways by which we live. Just for today, look at your schedule with great discernment. We all have “must do’s”, “have-to’s” and “want to’s” but when we look closer with realistic, loving kindness, we can let go of all the things that are no longer serving us. This holiday season, we choose love, starting with self.
2. Take a Long Walk
Awash with sentiment, duty, and reflection of the season, a long walk helps you process your path. With a clearer focus, you can recenter and stride more confidently toward the most important tasks at hand.
“The beauty is in the walking – we are betrayed by destinations.” -Gwyn Thomas
3. Blast Uplifting Music
There are few instant changes that insight such benefit as when music hits your brain. The auditory stimulation surges memory, emotion, and motor skills in a flash that sends positivity coursing from the inside out. Let music help you process the language and logic floating in your space right now. Allow feelings and emotions to migrate around wherever they need to be in this moment.
4. Smile all day long
“I smile because I have survived everything the world has thrown at me. I smile because when I was knocked down I got back up.” People used to tell me to “fake it till you make it” but guess what? I don’t have to fake it anymore.
5. Embrace The Grace of Saying “No.”
Self-care isn’t selfish. ’Tis the season to remember that putting your self-care first affords you the ability to take care of others. Sometimes, in just saying “no”, we are simply exercising our right to uphold healthy boundaries. It’s okay to protect your energy.
It’s okay to cancel a commitment.
It’s okay to not answer that call.
It’s okay to change your mind.
It’s okay to want to be alone.
It’s okay to take a day off.
It’s okay to do nothing.
It’s okay to speak up.
It’s okay to let go.
6. Call Your Sponsor
“My recovery must come first so that everything that I love in life does not have to come last.” Staying connected with your sponsor is a great way to keep hold of your own sense of personal accountability. The best part is, your recovery community is ever present to understand what others may not, to listen when others can’t, and to keep encouraging you when others forget. Recovery is our personal responsibility, but together, we grow it into the lifestyle that births all the miracles we’ve been searching for.
7. Take Deep Breaths
“Don’t be ashamed to admit you are vulnerable. Recognize you’re taking the first steps to save your own life.”
- Carole Anne Trisler
My breath can be pulled in much deeper than my chest and yet, my breaths often become so shallow that I forget how to help my body function properly. In the face of overwork, overload, and overwhelm, pulling your breath in deep, all the way to the stomach, you feel that your life force is more abundant than you give it credit for. We all have only 24 hours in each day. No more, no less. Breathe deeply and remain present.
8. Drink Plenty of Water
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” In recovery, we are re-teaching ourselves how to be healthy. Our brains and our bodies are at the mercy of the choices that we make. If we want to get swept away in joyful positivity, we need to ensure that our cups runneth over first.
9. Advocate For Your Recovery
’Tis a season of dignity, respect, and compassion…all things that start with you believing in the worthiness of your cause. In order to accept healthy assistance from the external world, we must first learn how to effectively help ourselves. In advocating for your recovery, it is okay to stay true to your guiding values and beliefs. Express yourself, take personal time and space to make informed decisions. Communicate. Ask for what you want and need and in the face of triggers, be prepared to transport yourself to safety. “Don’t be ashamed of your story. It will inspire others.”
10. Connect With Inspiration
Read, write, and explore the world for all the forms and facets of inspiration that move you to grow your faith and motivation for pressing forward.
“My recovery has been an evolution, not a sudden miracle.” - Patty Duke
11. Journal Your Thoughts
“I think recovery from anything is honestly the most badass thing a person can do.” - Anonymous
We’ve learned how the cathartic rhythm of journaling our thoughts can free our mind from clutter. It is now our duty to tidy up from time to time. Free up your mental space. The process of our mental health is exactly that, a process.
"Even when I stare blankly at an empty page, I know that there is still work to be done." Let your thoughts free so that they may change, grow, and meld into something that can help you reach your highest potential.
12. Meditate Mindfully
“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.” Find stillness within yourself, even if the rest of the world is marred by chaos. Meditate mindfully, for it is from within that we best set ourselves free.
13. Get Some Exercise
It’s all about endorphins. How you treat yourself is how you are inviting the world to treat you in return. “I may not be an athlete, but when I move my body, I’m reminded of how blissfully alive I am.”
14. Connect with a sober friend
“As you waste your breath complaining about life, someone out there is breathing their last breath. Appreciate what you have.” We are no longer miserable in the grips of active addiction, therefore, we no longer need that kind of company. Still, if we continually see the world as only how WE ARE, we lose perspective. In sobriety, our healthy friendships are a breath of fresh air. When we bounce our thoughts and feelings outward, external perspective springs back in. The quality of our connections starts with us. Make the Call. Go for coffee. Seek greater enlightenment through living in harmony with a network of kindred spirits.
What to Look For In Healthy, Sober Friends
15. Act With Intention
Your energy flows wherever your attention goes. It is the seed that grows your future in a certain way. It is everything. Find your intention and make a mindful impact on what your future holds. Be present. Be love. Be good to yourself, for yourself.
“I’m going to…
I would like to…
I have decided…
My intention is to…”
Direct your path so that it may align with your values.
16. Rent A Funny Movie
“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.” — William Thackeray
No movie makes me laugh during the holidays quite like Elf . Whatever movie is your go-to belly busting laughter choice, go grab it off the shelf. Now is a good time to take a mindful break from the “could’ve should’ve, would’ve” pressures of the holidays and cut yourself some slack. No one is perfect. The season isn’t really about presents, parties, and pretentious ideals anyways. Remember that. Take time to carve out a sacred moment for yourself and laugh. Laugh until everything falls back into realistic perspective.
17. Dance Like Crazy
When life is boring, topsy-turvy, or just otherwise ‘existing’ without a discernible note, “just shut up and dance.” Dance like no one is watching, with childlike abandon and feel your life transform. Just be the girl that decided to go for it.
18. Journal Your Feelings
In recovery, we’ve learned all sorts of things. Things like, “when you’re feeling, you’re not thinking,” and “emotions are complicated response systems”. What we know best is that we have them. They ebb and flow, peak and fall, and create the meaning of the world within us. We know that they don’t always make sense, and they don’t have to.
We journal them out as we process what to keep and what to leave behind. This journey that we’re taking as we grow in recovery is one that allows the peace of knowing that feeling something doesn’t have to make it so. We’re in charge of how we respond to the world, starting with the world within us. When we journal our feelings out, we are reminded that they need not overcome or overwhelm us. “As I write the script that sounds off in my head, I let my heart be free of what tries to hold me hostage.”
19. Create A New Ritual
“We not only nurture our sacred relationships through ritual, but we are nurtured by them as well. In ritual, we move, and we are moved.”
-ALISON LEIGH LILLY, "Turning the Soil of Soul: Ritual as Celebration", Patheos, February 11, 2016
As our life unfolds, renewed through recovery, we too must readdress the rituals through which we honor such sacred change. This holiday season, I encourage you to find new ways to honor the meaning of the season with your loved ones. Change may be scary and off-putting at first, but rituals symbolic of positivity and change radiate strength, renewal, and meaning throughout the year.
20. Sing Out Loud
There is a song in my heart. How about you?
Once, when I was little, my mother told me, “SHHH! You don’t have a voice fit for singing.” I sang anyway. I still sing every day. I do it for me and no one else.
5 Reasons Why People Who Sing Are Happier, Healthier And Live Longer (Regardless Of How Well They Sing) http://www.lifehack.org/293814/5-reasons-why-people-who-sing-are-happier-healthier-and-live-longer-regardless-how-well-they-sing
21. Stretch Your Legs
“True success is achieved by stretching oneself, learning to feel comfortable being uncomfortable.” - Ken Poirot
“Stretching your body and mind is essential to avoid rigidity.” -Marsh'k
Neurologic Advantage to Actively Stretching
22. Embrace Human Touch
There’s more power in a hug than in 24 hours of talking. Find someone in your life that is hug-worthy. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply and allow your defenses to come down for just a few moments. Hug like there is no tomorrow.
FUN FACT: Having eight, 33 second long hugs a day, boosts your body’s oxytocin natural benefit.
23. Express Your Gratitude
There is no overstating the power of an attitude of gratitude in recovery. “Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.
Find active ways to express your gratitude. Reap the exponential benefits of being innately thankful for the blessings of and in your life today.
24. Indulge in a Cozy Nap
It’s the last day of the advent, and look at all of the wonderful work that you’ve done. The time for celebration is upon you. AS an embodiment of self-love, poise, and dignity, I give you one last task to solidify your dedication to this journey of faith, self-discovery, and contentment; let the bliss of your recovery wrap around you as you nap. In this newfound life of acceptance and abundance, may you find peace in a job well done. Stay present, be mindful, and let the joy of the day rain upon you.
MERRY CHRISTMAS to every Tigress, old and new. To those we’ve loved and all of those that we have yet to meet.
We may not know the details of the path that lies ahead but we know that in leaving the destruction of addiction behind, we all prevail together. As we continue to grow on this journey together, we wish you a holiday of pure joy and happiness that sees you renewed in healing.
To every family member who supports the journey, to every staff member that dedicates their work to this cause, we send you love and light to keep up the wonderful work that you’re doing.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
#Heal #Empower #Recover
From our family to yours, we send messages of faith that great hope and strength will find you today and every day.