It’s holiday time! Bells and songs and tension and conflict. The whole family package. Often, family time can trigger old habits, including addictive tendencies that we can hold at bay in normal circumstances. We revert to childhood roles long established, all the progress of sobriety dissolving in a sarcastic remark or snide comment said the wrong way. So how can we as addicts deal with regression but avoid the danger of relapse?
Here are a few tips for keeping sane and staying in the center of your game.
1. Invite a friend in recovery to join you and meet your family. Birds of a feather stick together, and there’s nothing like being able to roll your eyes with a fellow confidente. If you’re feeling a little shaky, bring backup. Friends in recovery will be all too happy to oblige.
2. Get thee to a meeting. Schedule daily interludes in the family craziness to visit the rooms of A.A. or N.A. Checking in at least once a day will keep you accountable to your ongoing mental health. Share about your frsutrations. It will make you feel bettter.
3. Pray. Memorize a little prayer of gratitude or of supplication. Repeat as much as necessary.
4. Meditate. During really difficult moments, concentrate on your breath. Notice what happens to your body when you get angry or upset or frightened or disappointed. Where does the stress go? How does it manifest? Working with your negative emotions will help you understand yourself more and can help you learn to calm yourself during difficult times.
5. Know when enough is enough. Stay for just the amount of time that you feel is required. We are all obligated to our families, but we do not need to dwell in unhealthy relationships as active participants. Make a commitment to stay with your family for a realistic amount of time…and if things get too crazy, bow out. Losing face is less important than staying clean.
Do you have any other ideas? How are you dealing with the season? Any successes you can share?