Everyone, in recovery or not, knows how stressful the holidays can be! We all set ourselves up with expectations that can sometimes be impossible to realize. It can certainly be this way for me. I definitely was when I was new in recovery. My poor parents! I based my expectations on the families I knew from TV, like Leave It To Beaver, The Donna Reed Show and Father Knows Best.
Needless to say, it was a set up for disappointment. My parents were never like that. Nobody’s parents were like that. They couldn’t be. TV shows are pure fiction. What I was expecting of my parents was as unfair as anything they had ever done to me.
It was step 3 of the Twelve Steps that helped me come to peace with the stress and disappointments of the holidays.
*Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.*
What I hear in this step is that I don’t have to do anything all by myself. My Higher Power is always ready to assist, *IF* I am ready to turn my will and my life over to Him. That doesn’t mean I expect Happy Days Again or Hallelujah from my Higher Power; that’s no different than expecting my parents to be Donna Reed or Robert Young. What it means to me is that God will never give me more than I can handle. If I start feeling I’m in too deep, I stop myself, take a breath and once more commit to turning my will and life over to the care of God as I understand Him.
How do I do this? From the beginning I’ve used a little prayer I created for myself:
Thank you God for my gifts, my blessings, my health, my happiness, my sanity and my sobriety.
After reminding myself of all the wonderful things that I’ve already been given, I’ll often add a few more things, like watching over my family and friends. When I need to, I ask for strength, especially around the holidays.
Know that the two months can really be rough. Don’t let stress and expectations cause you to lose sight of your recovery. If you feel alone and lost, reach out. Ask for help, whether from your Higher Power or through a meeting.