New Years

10 Questions to Ask at a Christmas GatheringPremium Content

Many of us struggle to make conversation at Christmas gatherings, whether church events, work-related parties, neighborhood drop-ins, or annual family occasions. Sometimes our difficulty lies in having to chat with people we rarely see or have never met.

At other times we simply don't know what to say to those with whom we feel little in common. Moreover, as Christians we want to take advantage of the special opportunities provided by the Christmas season to share our faith, but are often unsure how to begin.

Here's a list of questions designed not only to kindle a conversation in almost any Christmas situation, but also to take the dialog gradually to a deeper level. Use them in a private conversation or as a group exercise, with believers or unbelievers, with strangers or with family.

1. What's the best thing that's happened to you since last Christmas?
2. When was your best Christmas ever? Why?

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Holiday Traditions and Eating Disorder RitualsPremium Content

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Mark 7:13


The holiday season is all about traditions. Families build their own, everything from the food to the decorations to the outings.

Traditions can be wonderful. However, seen through the prism of eating disorder rituals, they can be imprisoning.

"Rituals are both a tactic not to eat and also a piece of obsessionality associated with anorexia. When eating disorders are starting, people will try to make it look like they are eating by cutting things up and shifting food around on the plate so as to not draw attention to how little they are eating." Cynthia Bulik, PhD, eating disorder specialist at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

Traditions, rituals - it all represents the same unrealistic expectation: perfection, happiness and a sense of safety.

These rituals can be anything such as counting to a specific number how many times one chews his/her food before swallowing, meticulously counting calories or eating from the same bowl and spoon. There’s an exacting precision attached to keeping these behaviors - and a dreadful fear if one is unable to do so.

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Twelve Steps to a Better Holiday SeasonPremium Content

1. We admitted that Thanksgiving and Christmas have a deeper meaning than drinking, drugging and overeating.

2. We came to believe that God, a power greater than ourselves, could help us see and celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

3. We came to believe that God could help us appreciate the joyfulness of the season as intended by Him.

4. We made a searching and thorough examination of our relationship with our addictions, obsessions and overindulgences during the holidays.

5. We admitted to God the exact nature of our addictive habits and overindulgences during holiday seasons past.

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Prayer: Lord we come to YOU

Thank You Lord that You have been with us all year and that we have seen many things and also have had our trials and our struggles. We look to You for new life Lord and we know Your promises.

We are glad that when we are not faithful... You Are
and that we can come to You this day and grow in all that You are, learn new things every day and walk in Your Spirit which is life to us.

The life You have for us is full of power and peace. We cannot even imagine peace on our own Lord too many things in our lives and relationships with our passions and anxieties.

You are God -- Lord God Almighty God and Your make a way into our hearts and our lives. You reach Lord where we don t even know what is there and You bring life from it.
Nothing is beyond YOU.
We cannot hide from YOU.
No where can we go from Your spirit

So Lord we come to YOU.
Teach us.
Root out those places where we hold pain
where disease can settle
and where fears can develop.

Surviving the Holidays: Some Tips for People in Recovery

For most people, the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are a special time of joy and celebration. Yet, it can be an extremely difficult and stressful time for those who are just beginning to recover from addiction to alcohol and drugs. Spending the holidays in a shelter or residential recovery program is hard.

Here's a few simple thoughts that can make the experience a little more tolerable

A. Remember the spiritual significance of the holidays - This time of year is a major commercial event for America's retailers. It is also a time for special celebrations of family and goodwill. Still, we must remember that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". Above all else, we are celebrating God's sending of His only Son to be our Savior and Redeemer. Keeping Christmas as a spiritual celebration puts all of our other expectations for the holiday season in proper perspective.

B. Don't isolate - The holidays can be the loneliest time of the year for the recovering addict. On one hand, we are reminded of all the relationships we've messed up. Some will spend Christmas haunted by memories loved ones and friends they've alienated with destructive and manipulative behavior. We know, too, if we want to keep our sobriety, we must avoid people who are still using alcohol and drugs. What's the solution? Take advantage of the new sober acquaintances God has brought your way. Reach out to those around you and use this holiday season s as a special opportunity to get to know them better.

Holidays are so difficult; Can I just stay home?

Holidays are so difficult; my in-laws are so mean to me. Can I just stay home?

First of all, in order to stay home, would you have to make up an excuse or could you tell the truth about why you wanted to bow out of the activities? In this case, doing the right thing may be very difficult, but no less necessary.

I would guess that you could come up with several people who would be very hurt and disappointed by your absence. My advice is to focus on them. Make those few people your comfort for the day. You can sit by them, talk to them and lean on them for support. Focus on your support system instead of those few hurtful people who try to make you suffer.

Twelve Steps to FreedomPremium Content

The Twelve Steps originated with Alcoholics Anonymous in the mid 1930's. Besides being used to help alcoholics and drug addicts, the Twelve Steps have been used in support groups for family members, over-eaters, compulsive gamblers, and even for those desiring to escape from sexual addiction. These Steps formed the basis of treatment and counseling activities at New Creation Center where I served as Executive Director for ten years in the 1980's.

In the past few years, a movement recognizing the power of the Twelve Steps has sprung up among evangelical Christians concerned with those struggling with various addictions. Some believers worry that they bring secular concepts to the Christian counseling field.

From where do these Twelve Steps derive their power? The answer is very simple; from the Bible! Although following the Steps does not always bring an alcoholic (or other sufferer) into a saving relationship with Christ, they do work in overcoming addictions. This is shown by the millions of people who have found sobriety since AA's beginning. In some ways, it is very much like the businessman who succeeds financially when he makes spiritual principles the basis of his business practices.

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Conquering the Holiday BluesPremium Content

The holiday blues refers to specific feelings and symptoms that can mimic depression such as:

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Overindulge? Who Me?Premium Content

2 Peter: 1:5-6: Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness.

I turned on the TV to hear the news and the weather report. In a commercial, the person said this is the season “of overspending and overindulging.”

Years ago, a friend told me she gains 10-15 pounds every Christmas season. My mind pictured her in January with her eyes bulging out of her head as she tried to squeeze into her jeans. Vaseline on her legs wouldn’t have helped her slide her body into those jeans.

An acquaintance told me that when his credit card bill from last Christmas came it was as high as the national debt.

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Holiday CheersPremium Content

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.

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