Is it at all possible?  Yes.  What?  Yes.  The Holidays are just around the corner and the anxieties are creeping into Jessica’s thoughts.  She is single and in recovery for four years and six months now.  Believe it or not, she is still going to the meetings every single week.  She’s got a supportive sponsor who is there for her whenever she is in a predicament.

But Holidays?  It’s a different story and another level of difficulty.  Before any special event she gets uneasy.  Jessica would pace in her bedroom and take deep breaths.  She needs to prepare herself before going to the Holidays dinner at her parents.  She usually meditates and finds a calm and quiet space in her mind.

A few things she has been learning throughout the years of sobriety are:

  1. Love yourself.
  2. Accept yourself with all the imperfections.
  3. Call your sponsor before going to the event.
  4. Enjoy the party while it’s enjoyable and know when to part.
  5. Be in touch with your sponsor or a trusted friend during the event. Be accountable.

Basically, Holidays and special events can be happy times.  Jessica also has another tactic; it works sometimes.  She invites a friend who has nowhere to go during the Holidays.  That way she helps that friend.  Helping somebody else is very powerful.  So it works if she finds another person who is alone during the Holidays season.

“Uncle Harry – I’m grateful for Uncle Harry’s jokes.  He is the funniest person I’ve ever known.”

Jessica has used a grateful list.  What is a grateful list?  It’s a list of names of people she is going to meet.  They are family members or friends.  They may be coworker.  Beside each name she writes a few lines explaining what she is grateful about regarding each person.  When she meets them during dinner or party she reminds herself the grateful list.  That way she can put things in a state of being grateful even if they over drink, or say something unacceptable.

However, with all these great ideas of how to go through the Holidays and the pressure of a single and sober person may encounter, there are parties which Jessica would opt out altogether.  If the party is at a bar and mostly everything is evolving around drinking alcohol, she would sit that one out.  She wouldn’t put herself in a situation where she may be triggered.

Another action Jessica takes before the Holidays is to plan to stay sober.  She writes herself a letter.  In this letter Jessica writes to herself that she is going to stay sober during the coming Holidays season.   She usually gifts herself with something special after the Holidays.  She finds the right time to celebrate her sobriety.  It is a reason for celebration.  Someone said celebration?  She has a tradition now that after the Holidays she invites her friends in recovery for a potluck and a movie night.  During the party everybody has a chance to tell one experience they have taken from the family gathering or work related party.  They are sharing all this together and sometimes they laugh about it or cry, but they always let everybody express their feelings in a safe environment.

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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. Leslie is also the creator of Recovery Guidance, the information website for those seeking addiction and mental healthcare for professionals nationwide. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation.

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