Sometimes holidays are tough. This year, instead of being comforted by happy memories of family meals, I’m feeling angry and resentful, not thankful. How do I process my hurt when everyone else is so darn thankful?

Why Am I Not Thankful?

For years, when someone asked me “How are you?” I answered, “I’m fine.” even though I was far from fine. I did this to protect myself from feelings too difficult to face. Tired of being ignored, my feelings eventually left. As a result, I’m more emotionally frozen than a Butterball turkey. But instead of taking a few days to thaw out in the refrigerator, I’ve taken 18 months so far. Recovery teaches me to feel my feelings, and I feel like other people’s thankfulness is sometimes fake. Not something I want to put on my status update. Even worse, I feel pressured to post my own separate, but equally fake gratitude list.

How Do I Get Back To Thankful?

Caregiver Coach, Cindy Laverty explains,

“When we ignore our feelings – particularly people who are in stressful situations like caregivers – eventually our bodies scream at us.”

Recovery holds the answer for me, but it is a long process, not a magic wand. I won’t be able to clean up all the dirty emotions I shoved under a rug before Christmas.

I’ll start by being thankful for any nudge of anger, sadness, or rage. They might not be pretty, Facebook worthy feelings, but they are feelings nonetheless and welcome guests in my life. I’ll focus on the little things that make me genuinely smile; I’ll stop running from my past, which is unmanageble, and hand it over to my Higher Power. Finally, I’ll remember to live one day at a time, and Thanksgiving’s really just another square on the calendar.

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Pam Carver

Pam is the author of two books: Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and Find Your True Colors In 12 Steps. She's also a contributing editor for Reach Out Recovery. She's a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.

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