Psalms 119:117 KJV
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
It’s almost here! That time of year when drinking and eating just about anything and everything you can is the rule rather than the exception. The risk for relapse is extremely high, it’s holiday season. Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Christmas, Chinese New Year and other ritualistic celebrations that seem to justify drinking in excess and using drugs for some people are coming. The holiday season is the perfect time to jeopardize your program if you are not careful.
It can put you in the slipperiest of all slippery places, if you do not remember your program. Unrealistic thinking about how a few hours of reckless bliss from drinking vodka on the rocks can cause your recovery to wind up on the rocks. Those fancy “holiday drinks” like liqueurs, brandy and punched up punch are the rave around this time of year. Rum cake, rum balls, eggnog with rum, hot buttered rum to wash down that rum cake, rum this rum that; it seems like some people just want to “rum a muck” and forget about going to meetings. You have heard it before. “I’ve been so busy because Auntie Em is in town and we all took here out for a great dinner and had a family toast. Then cousin Jed flew in from way out on the outskirts of town, and then we went to uncle Bill’s cabinet in the sky and them the next thing I know I took a sip, had a slip and was knocking on relapse door. Slip? What’s that, the front door to the slippery place you are supposed to stay out of? Relapse is relapse. Be it one drink, one sip one gallon or one hit off a joint, do not do it.
How often do we hear “The holiday comes once a year, so I am going to enjoy myself?” You can enjoy yourself and all of the ceremonies and traditions of the holiday without drinking or drugging. Making the rounds to visit family or friends does not have to be an excuse for drinking or drug use. On the other hand lamenting the loss of family because of a custody situation or other sad moments does not have to be the reason to throw your recovery out the window.
What can you do to maintain your reality and sobriety? First, remember you are an addict or an alcoholic and when you drink or use drugs your life is unmanageable. Here are some suggestions. When you plan your day, do not just go to a meeting. Go to a meeting and share. Talk about what you are going through today whether it be good, bad or a little of both, share. Tell your sponsor and clean and sober friends what your plans are so you have a network of recovery. Use the phone numbers you have. Don’t just “get plenty of phone numbers”; use them. Call somebody new to the program to see how they are doing. A twelfth step call does not have to be to someone who is beyond rational thinking. Call another clean and sober person who might be surprised to hear from you. Invite someone to go to a meting with you. Take something simple to a meeting to go with the coffee. How does the Big Book put it? Ad Infinitum. In other words, remember to practice the principles of recovery every minute of the day, as you are supposed to be doing anyway.
Have a backup plan. It can be hard to tell family members from out of town that you are in recovery so you cannot drink. If that is the case, try telling then that you are not drinking today. Besides, they probably know you are in the program anyway. This way, they would be more likely to understand your decision and give you the support you need. The plan A, plan B strategy works if you stick to it. The best plan of them all is to thine own self be true.
It is your responsibility to remember all of the consequences you could face if you relapse. Yes, ’tis the season to be jolly’. Do you want to be a newcomer again? How jolly is that? Plan activities that do not include drinking everywhere you go. Most people do not plan to relapse. Relapse is the last stop on a road that can be avoided but it happens. Share and share again at meetings. A good way to show your concern for your friends and family is to stay clean and sober.
Nobody likes to get through the holiday and find out that friend or family member relapsed. This is the time for people to have pleasant memories and to celebrate with each other. Be safe and enjoy the holidays one day at a time.
Have a safe and blessed holiday.