Getting Through the Holidays
For some, the sights, signs, and smells of the holidays bring joy and a warm feeling. But, while others are joyously diving into the season, some of us are dipping into conflict, guilt, and a sense of loss.
We read articles on how to enjoy the holidays, we read about the Christmas blues, but many of us still can't figure out how to get through the holiday season. We may not know what a joyous holiday would look and feel like.
Many of us are torn between what we want to do on the holiday, and what we feel we have to do. We may feel guilty because we don't want to be with our families. We may feel a sense of loss because we don't have the kind of family to be with that we want. Many of us, year after year, walk into the same dining room on the same holiday, expecting this year to be different. Then we leave, year after year, feeling let down, disappointed, and confused by it all.
Many of us have old, painful memories triggered by the holidays.
Many of us feel a great deal of relief when the holiday has ended.
One of the greatest gifts of recovery is learning that we are not alone. There are probably as many of us in conflict during the holidays than there are those who feel at peace. We're learning, through trial and error, how to take care of ourselves a little better each holiday season.
Our first recovery task during the holidays is to accept ourselves, our situation, and our feelings about our situation. We accept our guilt, anger, and sense of loss. It's all okay.
There is no right or perfect way to handle the holidays. Our strength can be found in doing the best we can, one year at a time.
This holiday season, I will give myself permission to take care of myself.
-- David Mills, retired judge
The views expressed are the author's own. Unedited. The author owns the copyright.