It’s that time of the year again. The time of the year where we rush from one heat source to the next(even those of us in Florida sadly). The time of the year where a hot cup of java and yoga/sweat/pajama pants are your best friend (more so than normal). That time of the year where all the holidays coincide(Hanukkah having just passed; Christmas and Kwanzaa still around the corner). Yup, you guessed it, it’s winter time.
Some people enjoy the crisp freshness of spring, while others prefer the colors of a golden autumn day. I personally love everything to do with cold weather, even though I ironically choose to dwell in Florida while sweating my rump off everyday. However, winter just has a way of adding a heaviness that many could do without; love of chilly weather or not.
Yet aside from those hypothermic temperatures up north and the obnoxious over coagulated hoards of tourists traveling down south to get away from it, this time of the year gives holiday depression to many in sobriety. All of the coldness in itself just makes things a general struggle. Nobody wants to shiver their arse off while they sit outside on their lunch break, nor do they want to violently chatter their teeth as they walk their child to school, but that’s life though.
These are the commitments we signed up for by agreeing to live. We overcome and triumph over obstacles. Either that or death is the other option, and that doesn’t sound too fun. You see, everybody copes with their tribulations differently, so it’s about finding what gets you by. While some will be using substances to stay warm mentally, those of us will the holiday depression in sobriety will be relying on other methods this December.
Sobriety Around the Holidays
For those in recovery, the idea is to return our sanity while improving our overall wellness. The ugliness of holiday depression has been known to bring out irritability, frustration, and discontent cognition as a representation of alcoholic thinking even in the best of us. Realizing that a glass of eggnog won’t be solving any character defects anytime soon is a good place to start. Being sober, clearly we need to look for other methods to deal with. Sober methods.
Keeping in mind that recovery is our number one priority, even around the holidays, is vital. We need to remember that there is a solution for every discomfort we come across this December. So if something is creating some sort of drug provoked discomfort, remove yourself from the situation. It really can be as taskless as just walking away like that to protect yourself.
On the other hand, for a lot of us, that discomfort ends up being family. Now, we all love our families, but there’s no denying how tiresome and stressful it can be spending such copious amounts of time around them. For some, painful memories of the past evoke holiday depression and the jubilous occasions become even more monstrous. Even so, we can’t really just walk away from them. Family is more complicated than that for most. However, rest assured that there are ways to deal with your relatives without getting loaded.
Defeating Holiday Depression
One of the keys to defeating holiday depression is to find safe, proactive ways to get past it. If these times are typically a bummer, next year try spending your holiday at a local recovery clubhouse. Might sound lame, but that’s the attitude of an Ebenezer Scrooge. Bah Humbug. Every single person reading this would be shocked to see how holly jolly of a time they would have at the right anonymous meetings. People bring spirit and cheer to their meetings around this time of year. Then there are those of us that bring our holiday depression, funking up the whole place. The yin and yang of things. However, watching the two sides shift as tender energy overcomes is a feeling of warmth that only sobriety can deliver.
Examples like going to an anonymous related clubhouse is one for the books that will strike back a holiday depression for most anybody. On the other hand, if it doesn’t, a few other clever methods to stay happy and sober through the yuletide include:
- Meditating Outside/Taking Advantage of Cold Weather
- Volunteering/Giving Back to Those Less Fortunate
- Reminding Yourself It’s the Season of Giving(Including to Yourself)
- Writing in a Journal (Even if it’s About Your Disdain for Winter)
- Take Advantage of Seasonal Foods/Beverages.
As for that last one, pig out! It’s that one time of year that we should be allowed to eat the seasonal foods and not feel guilty. Tasty treats are always a good remedy for defeating holiday depression. Live a little. The idea is to find that sober comfort lodged within the ice of heaviness that emotion surrounds. We don’t have to be forced into sub-zero times just because of sub-zero temperatures.
Tis the Season for Justification
Our alcoholic thinking is the abominable creature in the other room that wants nothing more than to eat us alive. We mustn’t ever forget where we were at the beginning of our journey into sobriety. We’ve played the tape out, remembered the awful times, and going out would only be a confirmation of the insanity we are trying to rid ourselves of. Don’t allow justification to take over.
Sometimes defeating that holiday depression is as simple as just calling ourselves out. As addicts, we will search for any excuse we can to rationalize our poor decisions. Playing the tape over is sometimes the difference between throwing your life away for fun or throwing a snowball. For those of us in Florida, we have sand…I wouldn’t recommend throwing sand, but do what you have to in order to defeat the bug and abstain from drinking. It’ll work if you work it. Happy Holidays!