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The Holidays Are Here!

If you’re like me, (I’m never as unique as I like to think I am) the detail that Thanksgiving is next week came as a shock. I could, I suppose, blame this year’s astonishment on the fact that I no longer have a TV. But the truth is every year the holidays sneak up on me. I’d like to think it’s because I live in the moment, but my hunch is denial is closer to the truth.

Getting through the holidays is always a hot topic at meetings and over coffee this time of year. It's true, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Years Eve tend to be emotionally loaded events.

They are loaded because of our memories and our expectations. If we had great celebrations as kids we tend to yearn for that kind of experience again; if our past experiences were anything but great, we tend to get stuck in expecting disaster again. It's as if everything conspires to keep us away from the present moment - the holy instant - and throws us into our pasts and our hopes.
There are, however, a few guidelines than can help us all make the most of this season:

This year's holidays won't be like it was last years... or like those from our childhood. Each day is different, new and fresh and we can bring whatever attitude we choose to it, even if it's a traditional family gathering.

You are not the same as you were last year or when you were 5 years old. And, truth be told, your family isn't the same either.

You can't buy love, nor can you measure it by the gifts you receive, or don't receive. It's so tempting to over-spend this time of year, but if you avoid it, you'll save yourself real agony in the New Year.

You don't have to do it 'their' way, or the way it's always done. One of the joys of recovery is we have been returned to choice and we can make the choices that serve us best.

You can, if you choose, enjoy the holidays, no matter how you celebrate them or with whom. It truly is up to you to decide what to do, how to give and how to receive.

If you find you’re not looking forward to the holidays, try a mini-inventory. Write down what happened last year you didn’t like. Now with great honesty and no guilt, look at that situation and ask yourself what part you played in the event. It may take some serious self-discipline to see your roll, but that’s where you need to focus. Remember, you’re the only one you can change.

Next, ask yourself what you’d like to be different this year. Spell it out in great detail. Then focus on what you might do to make it the way you want it this year. Let your mind soar to as many possibilities as you can think of in 10 or 15 minutes. It helps if you write them all down.

Take a break for an hour or a day and don’t be surprised if some additional ideas occur to you. Write them down too.

Now you have a whole collection of options. Obviously, some are better than others. Pick the one or two that please you the most and go for it.

Love and blessings and abundance and happy holidays,

 

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