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Are you feeling less than joyful this holiday season?

The holidays can add one more level of stress when substance use continues to be an issue.

This time of year can feel especially painful when things aren’t going well. 

You may be feeling guilt, anger, frustration, and shame over your situation with your child. That doesn’t help you feel joyful during the holiday season.

Finding joy may not be as easy as those not affected by addiction, but it is possible.  You can still enjoy the holidays whether you are coping with substance use in your family or not.

If you are concerned about your struggling child, remember you’re not alone. The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times for those recovering from addiction as well as for family members.

If your child is new to recovery, you probably feel relieved, yet holiday time may bring up some unease. 

Trying to stay sober when the world seems to be celebrating can be challenging for your child who is new to recovery. Support from family and friends can be helpful.

You may be feeling that this holiday time is going to be hard to get through. Yet, there are ways to feel more at peace and to have some joy.

It is possible whatever the circumstances, by simply taking a step back, being kind and being realistic.

holiday season

Here are nine ways to find peace of mind and joy. These nine ways will help you feel more relaxed and peaceful this holiday season.

Pull back and breathe.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Sitting for even five minutes can heal your emotional wounds. It can bring a feeling of peace to your mind and body. It can bring back the calm and help you to feel happier, no matter what is happening around you.

When you carve out some quiet time each day, you gain inner strength. Giving your mind a rest will help lift your mood.

Keep things simple.

“It is the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

When someone is new to recovery, it can be helpful to limit family celebrations to smaller gatherings. Include only those people who are aware of your situation and supportive.

Large gatherings where alcohol is flowing may be difficult. It could cause unnecessary anxiety and stress for everyone involved.

Let go of expectations.

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. ~ Michael J. Fox

Expectation sets us up for disappointment. Enjoy each moment as it comes and let go of preconceived ideas of your ideal holiday gathering.

We don’t have to meet anyone else’s expectations.  When life is challenging, we need to take extra good care of ourselves.

Avoid the replay button. We so often view holiday events in frames of what “always” happened. If we can visualize that delete button when those thoughts arise, we can keep our thoughts in the present.

Appreciate where everyone is in life and look for joy where ever you can find it. Allowing your family members to be themselves is a holiday gift we can all give.

Show your love.

Piglet: “How do you spell love?”

Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Use the holidays as an opportunity to show your love. Substance use often stems from deep-seated unhappiness. This is a good time to remember that there is much more to your child than their addiction.

They have many gifts to offer such as their talents and strengths. As they progress into long-term recovery, your child’s wonderful qualities will begin to shine through once again.

And remember, family is who loves you unconditionally.

Look for each moment of joy.

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” ~ Jean Shinoda Bolen 

You might not have as much time as you would like to enjoy with your recovering child. Look for the moments you can spend together. Take time to appreciate how far your child has come.

Take in each moment with a sense of appreciation. Feel good about the progress your family has made helping each other through a critical time. Celebrate what is going well in your world.

Practice being calm, cool and collected. Smile often.

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down. ~ Unknown

Think happy and pleasurable thoughts. Remember other holiday celebrations where addiction was not an issue. Enjoy those memories.

Even if you don’t feel like it, when you smile, you will begin to feel happier and calmer. Practice living your life as you want it to be, including your holiday celebration. Before you know it, your practice will become a reality.

Accept that life has changed.

“All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” ~ Mitch Albom 

Every holiday brings new blessings and new challenges. Sometimes we have to be flexible in our traditions to make room for the zigs and zags of life. What we can always depend on is the awesome gift of forgiveness and appreciation.

Although none of us would wish addiction on any family, it can be a time for growth and change. It may even be a stimulus to look at some family dynamics that are not working.  A new door is now available. Take a chance and see how wonderful your life can be.

Let go of frustration, resentment, anger, and sadness.

“The heart is like a garden: it can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?” ~ Jack Kornfield

Sometimes your emotions can get the better of you when it comes to substance use. It is frustrating and painful to watch your child allow their life to take such a negative turn.

Take time to work through your feelings. It will give you a chance to forgive, let go of negativity, and move on with your lives. You will find more room for happiness and joy.

When you choose the mindset that things will eventually work out, you create an even more relaxing state.

Time eases everything.

“I realized, it is not the time that heals, but what we do within that time that creates positive change.” ~ Diane Dettman

You may find yourself getting so absorbed in your child’s “stuff” and trying to “solve” it, that you lose yourself.

When you think of the ocean and hills, remind yourself that they were there before this issue and they will be here long after.

Your pain will get easier over time. Remind yourself that next year during the holiday season, you may feel more positive and joyful. You may have a better acceptance of your situation. Time heals many wounds.

It is wonderful when families can get together during the holidays. Try to enjoy your time together. There is always something to be grateful for and something to enjoy.

While these are tips for the holiday season, they apply year-round to all families. May the season bring you peace, serenity, happy memories and joy.

I hope that the ways I have listed above are helpful to you. Have you found other ways to get through the holidays when your child is struggling with drugs or alcohol? Let us know in the comments.
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regain your hope

By: Cathy Taughinbaugh
Title: 9 Ways to Find Joy This Holiday Season
Sourced From: cathytaughinbaugh.com/find-joy-this-holiday-season-even-when-your-family-is-addicted/
Published Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2019 21:45:16 +0000