The holidays can be crazy, plain and simple, and we all know that being around family and going home can be insane triggers for us, newly sober or even with years of time. Money is being spent, liquor is flowing, politics are being discussed at the dinner table, the overbearing and/or non-responsive parents are still being themselves, etc. etc. So with all of this holiday “hooplah”, we as recovering addicts and alcoholics need to be on our game now more than ever. This is the number one time for relapse and overdose, as things are changing, good and bad memories come rushing back, people are falling in love and the snow is magical. It’s an awesome time to either feel super grateful, or super alone.
But have no fear! Regardless of where you are at this holiday season, don’t forget that you have a solution to all of your problems! I know, it sounds corny, but it’s true! No matter how stressed or flustered or anxious we get during this time of year, there are a multitude of holistic practices to calm down your holiday nerves.
Okay, if you knew me, you would know that I would stand on a soapbox in Times Square, preaching the word of Yoga. However, you don’t know me, so you’ll just have to take my word on this one. Yoga is a holistic practice that has changed the way I view my life and the world around me while managing to get me into pretty decent shape! Yoga is all about breathing, discipline, meditation, and patience. It is about balancing the good and the bad, and breathing through the hard times so you can enjoy the easy ones. It is an art of self-discipline, inner peace, and positive manifestation. It teaches you to re-train your brain, to be kind to yourself and those around you, and to realize that no matter what crazy shenanigans are going on around you, the only thing that matters is that you just keep breathing. I’m literally so filled with gratitude thinking about how much I love yoga right now that I need to change the subject before I get emotional. Moving on!
Okay, don’t laugh, but I keep a diary. I know, it’s nerdy, but if you knew how therapeutic this bad mama-jama was for me, you would start one too, if you haven’t already. Here’s the deal, if you are like me, then you have a hard time expressing feelings, or even know what the heck feelings you are even feeling! Journaling may not seem like a typical holistic practice but it lets me figure it out, with my own words, and in my own time. It works kind of the same way as talking to a friend. I start writing, and as I finish a sentence, or ask a question, I am suddenly struck with the answer I was looking for. It also puts my ego in check, big time. If I am venting about something annoying that happened that day, when I go back over and read what I wrote down, I can see how selfish or fearful I was actually being in the situation. I usually end up laughing at myself by the time I’m done. Which, although I feel a little foolish, makes me feel a whole lot better than the anger I had when I started!! It’s a quick fix, and it always works.
Reading! (With Candles)
Okay so the candles are optional, but I sure do love them! Nothing is more soothing than getting cozy with a good book, lighting some candles, and gorging myself on milk and cookies (even though I am lactose intolerant but that’s besides the point). When I’m reading a good book, the world around me falls away. Time seems to freeze as I tear through page after page, through stories of these other people, in other cities or other worlds, having adventures, learning lessons of life, suffering through heartbreak and coming out the other side. Reading a good book has the tendency to take me right out of myself, and a really really good book, will leave me with a feeling of gratitude in my heart. If that sounds crazy to you, then you haven’t been reading the right books!!!
Cooking, No Matter How Bad You Are At It
So I can’t cook, but I hear that it can be very therapeutic for others. Me, I end up making a huge mess, a sink full of dishes, and a lumpy burnt creation by the end of it. But if I can share a little secret, even though I would never show anyone else my finished product, I actually enjoy the process of it all. It is almost like a science experiment, and I’m the mad scientist, all bug-eyed and crazy haired and covered in random ingredients and chemicals. But you know what, I get a kick out of it. It is something that I can be completely focused on for anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours. Not to mention, I get to blast my favorite music and dance around the kitchen and pretend I’m in a movie, which is always a good time. For those who may be more “kitchen savvy”, I hear it is extremely rewarding to prepare and serve food to family and loved ones, and to have them enjoy it! It does seem like that would be very gratifying, but for me, I’ll just continue my science experiments on my own, and prevent any vomiting. Besides, my dog always loves what I cook, no matter how burnt or ugly it turns out!
Go Outside Ya Crazy Animal!!!
What moves you? Dancing? Basketball? Swimming? Hiking? Yeah! Go Hiking! Go outside!!! Go roll down a hill or climb a tree. Granted, it is winter, so act accordingly depending on your location on the latitudinal hemisphere, but do it! Go for a walk through the woods or build a little house for a frog, what did you do when you were a kid while you played outside? Do it again! Do it as an adult. Feel the earth under you, thank it for keeping you around! Nature is the true root of this holistic practice. Realize how small your worries and your fears are in comparison to how massive this planet is. Watch the sunset or count as many stars as you can, and then start over. Feel the breeze on your face and the sun on your skin. GO OUTSIDE! Get some fresh air. Frolick through a field of flowers and sing a song. Or, again, it’s winter, go sledding and bust your ass on a jump. Who cares?! Have fun, LIFE IS FUN!
Sure, the holidays are crazy, life is crazy! But it’s beautiful, as long as we remember to just stop, and see it. We face problems each and every day, and sometimes it seems like they are piled up so high that they are going to come crashing down on top of us, and that is how we will die. A landslide of our own problems, crushing us. But think about it, when you were out drinking or getting high, you didn’t die, none of the problems you faced killed you. I guarantee, none of the feelings or worries that you are facing right now are going to be the last straw, you won’t keel over from your parents bugging you, or being poor, or feeling stressed, I promise! So live your life, don’t get high, and have a happy holiday season!
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