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  • Writer's pictureDee

Giving Thanks in Addiction Recovery


I know that the holidays are brutal for many, and they can be a time of high expectation and low return. Plus, we are under such pressure to have a picture perfect holiday (cue cell phones, presents, decorations, activities …), that it’s pretty hard to feel solid in our already fragile sense of self and what’s important and what in the heck we’re supposed to be doing. They can be deeply depressing and feel very hopeless. For others, they’re a reinforcement that we have nothing. And some are just seemingly inevitable horrible firestorms where you just know somebody’s going to cause a scene, blow up, get hospitalized, wind up in jail ...

I enjoy thinking about the holiday and gratitude at this time of year -- my gratitude for finding my own way to recovery is tied up close to that timeframe, too, so always a good time for me to remember.


I know some people who say that it’s artificial to celebrate holidays like this on a single day, that we should be thankful all the time. I don’t disagree. And I don’t want to confuse gratitude with use of that word in a religious sense. But I respond to little ceremonies and traditions, and I find the holidays a good way to take a step back and appreciate and get encouragement in that from others, by giving it a little extra focus. And in case we didn’t do so well with that throughout the rest of the year.

It can be so easy to drift, that various holidays served as sort of timestones for me as I was trying to navigate and when I really didn’t have very much else to tether me.

,,, and Drinking

I don’t have a specific holiday story as an example, but I remember feeling so, so ragged and bleary on holidays. Running around, trying to drink, but not enough to throw me too far off, and the timing, and being distracted, trying not to spill or trip, trying to keep track of what I was doing … I seriously don’t know how I stood all that stress (and didn’t poison anyone by accident).