The Christmas Season can be both a blessing and a curse for the recovering addict. Old Memories, Increased Family Interaction, and additional exposure to alcohol can be challenging. Voices of Recovery had the opportunity to talk with Lee McCormick regarding the challenges those in recovery may face during the holiday season and offer some tips towards maintaining sobriety and keeping a high spirit during the most festive time of year. McCormick, is the founder and co-owner of the Ranch Recovery Center in Tennessee, where a holistic and spiritual approach to addiction has been used with success.
Voices of Recovery- The challenges for those in recovery are a daily struggle, and for the some the holiday season makes that every day challenge even harder given the Christmas Parties, or past seasonal memories that may bring up old emotional wounds. What are some tips you can share for those looking to stay clean and sober?
Lee McCormick- This time of year the challenges are big, broad, and there are a ton of them. One of the main things I always try and stress is live in the moment. How do I deal with living in this moment, right here and right now. One of the biggest challenges this time of year, and in recovery in general is let the past be the past. We continually tend to put the past right in front of us and let the past guide us and sway us as if it were right in front of our face. In the interest of the holidays and the challenges that come from of it, the most important thing and a critical key point is stay in the moment. Engage yourself whats happening in the present moment, embrace it, live it. Stay in the moment with what is happening today.
When old wounds, old memories, and old stories come up we have the choice to make, do we let the old experiences take our energy and sway what is happening now, when there is nothing to be gained by going-or do we live in the present, and embrace that moment in time and relish it. In a way, the resurfacing of holiday memories from years past that may bring up unpleasant memories is not too far removed from drug and alcohol addiction in itself,and spark the potential craving to go out and drink or get high. You can make the choice to go to a meeting, or call your sponsor, or your support group-or you sit in a room somewhere alone white knuckling it hoping for it to pass.
Voices of Recovery- You make a great point in that, the holiday season has such a tremendous emotional attachment to it, dating back to when we were little kids reading stories of Santa Claus and the memories of family Christmas’s long since past. What type of support should someone in recovery prepare for?
Lee McCormick- Its all about redirecting the attention. Meetings give us the opportunity to shift our attention from the space between our ears into the present moment of what is going on in that room at that moment in time. By going to meetings and using your sources of support, you will be in a much better position to deal with settling the old score, dealing with the old conflict, or hash some problems out or work with some long since past issue.