Connection, Confession, Consolation
For me, the steps of 12-steps programs were transformational. Learning how to make a connection to a higher power was a spiritual lifesaver. Meditation has been miraculous for wellness. But, connecting to other like-minded humans has been and is life-saving. I have the disease of isolation. The disease of “Everything is OK,” Even when it’s not. The disease of thinking of staying home alone for long periods is healthy.
Healthy human connection turned out to be one of the main things I needed in my life
Being able to connect to other sober people through meetings, sponsorship, sober organizations, sober gatherings, and advocacy has transformed my life. I went from feeling like someone no one understood to having groups of people who are just like me and fighting the good fight. People who wanted to listen and be there when you need them. I’d go so far as to say the connection to other people I’ve been able to make through sobriety and recovery restored my faith in people
To avoid relapse, I’ve needed the connection to other people. I need to see those shining faces and bright eyes, and it makes me feel lighter–even when they’re having a rough time. That helps in a whole different way. I’ve noticed when people relapse or return to a non-sober life, there’s often a disconnection from the sober world. As we dive into the holiday season, don’t disconnect. Hit those 24-hour meetings. We’ve all had times when we were single, alienated from our families, lost our families, and needed to lean on the recovery community over the holidays. I didn’t see my family for a couple years over holidays, so I spent them with friends and we created our own, new traditions.
Next, call someone you trust, someone who gets it and won’t judge you and let them know when you’re feeling like a drink or a drug. It’s OK to ask for help. In fact, it’s a necessary part of recovery, and until one learns how to ask for and accept help, they will struggle with this disease. I can’t tell you how many times the people I admire the most in recovery have told me of a moment where they felt like giving up. But, by telling someone and talking about it, the disease gets stopped in its tracks.
There’s power in saying something out loud and admitting when you feel weak
The next thing I think we have to do for ourselves this holiday season is console ourselves. Take care of that inner child who didn’t get heard and who didn’t get her or his little needs met. Give ourselves the things we need to feel loved and understood–even if we don’t have the exact situation we want in life.
A consolation is a person or thing providing comfort to a person who has suffered
I think people in recovery need a little comfort. It’s not the easy choice to get and stay sober, and the holidays can make it particularly challenging. So, let’s let the system work for us and accept consolation. Or provide ourselves with comfort and encouragement. To me, that means I’m going to be enjoying all the things the holidays have to offer. I will enjoy the sales and get the things I need to feel like I’m taken care of. I will cook and enjoy the food of the holidays because I love food. And, holiday food can be especially delicious and comforting even though the holidays are not.
There are my three Cs to relapse prevention. Stay connected, confess to someone if you need some extra love, and console yourself because this sobriety road we’re on is tough, and we deserve it.