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The 12 Days Of Recovery Christmas

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

As we approach one of the biggest holidays our country celebrates during the calendar year, one thing that we just can't completely avoid is Christmas music. I don't know why you'd want to avoid it, personally I love the Christmas jingles when out and about grocery shopping, picking up last-minute gifts, or just going about everyday errands during this half of December. Since some of these tunes can get wedged in our heads, getting "stuck" in there to the point of annoyance for some of us, I've chosen to use this repeating playlist in my head to write a blog. Really leaning into it. So, here's my 12 days of recovery Christmas, I hope you enjoy it.

Starting with:

12 days of anxiety. Whether it be about those gifts I mentioned, traveling plans, getting or not getting to be with loved ones for the holiday, there's always that worrying about being around your DOC during holiday plans. The holidays can be stressful, let's do our best to set our sobriety and selves up for as much success as possible.

11 healthy coping mechanisms. Some people call them "tools in your belt". 11 isn't the limit, but this one just fits here. Don't forget the healthy(or healthier in some cases) coping skills that your journey through recovery has given you. One of mine was music time.

10-minute breaks. Okay, ya got me. This is technically a coping skill. BUT, it's a really good one, it worked for me, and it deserves its own spot on the list. Set yourself up to be able to check out of stressful situations. One of the goals here is to keep from getting overwhelmed, so, do everything you can to have a temporary escape plan if things start pushing you a bit too far. Take a deep breath, listen to a song that hits you in the feel goods, maybe call a peer recovery coach or sponsor if available. Sometimes all you need is to let the dust settle so you can see clearly again.

9th step. If you're familiar with the 12-step structure to recovery you'll know that the 9th step is making amends. Keep your backyard clean, stay in your lane, and don't start anything that could cause you stress in your life. So be self-aware. Our actions towards others can directly affect our peace in a BIG way.

8 hugs a day. They can be awkward for some people, but it's scientifically proven(somehow) that 8 hugs a day is the sweet spot for emotional maintenance. A wise woman once set a goal to never let go of a hug first because of how much it benefitted her. It helps detox the soul and set you up for resilience before the anxiety-inducing traps are even snared.

7 seconds. Piggybacking off the last one. According to a study, it only takes 7 seconds of hugging for your brain to release oxytocin. We can all use a bit of a positive bump in the brain when stressed, so why not make our very own natural "cuddle chemical"? This one deserved an honorable mention.

6 recovery meetings. Be it AA, NA, SMART, Dharma, or any of the other recovery meeting styles out there(check out ours here), if cravings are present or you just need that environment of like-minded people, I recommend hitting a meeting every other day. At least when needed during times that could cause overwhelm in our lives.

5 BOUNDARIEEEEESS... I hope you sang that like I did. And 5 isn't a magic number but boundaries are just too important not to put into this part of the song I'm structuring my publication after. Be it family, friends, coworkers, etc, boundaries are so critical that if you haven't talked to your therapist about it. Now. That's an order. And if you don't have a Therapist, get one. Yesterday.

4 am. This one's a bit goofy, but I always end up wrapping Christmas gifts until 4am on Christmas Eve and then I'm exhausted all Christmas Day. Set yourself up for success, and get some rest.

3 square meals. Now sometimes we get busy and forget or get anxious and overeat. (that's my issue) Either way, proper nutrition is a pillar of being emotionally/mentally healthy, so try making as good of choices here as you can.

2 Naps. Okay, you don't have to limit yourself to only 2, and I know I've already mentioned getting your rest. But I feel like it's important enough to mention again. The holidays can be stressful for most of us and getting enough rest is one of the best ways to battle that.

Here we're all expecting that partridge in a pear tree. As number 1 on the list, I'd like to veer off the holiday song for a moment and remind everyone that our RECOVERY needs to be number 1. We can't be anything to anyone unless we can keep ourselves on track and that means putting our recovery first and not losing sight of that.

These are just a few things I try and practice during stressful situations, and as fun and jolly as the holiday season can can also be one of the most anxiety-inducing times of year not for just those of us in recovery, but everyone in general. So let's stay self-aware and get through this as a community. I believe in you almost as much as Santa does.

Merry Christmas

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Corey Winfield
Corey Winfield
Dec 21, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.


Dec 16, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great job

Dec 16, 2023
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