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Celebrating the Holidays in Recovery

It's a Joyful, Happy Time of the Year


Updated February 09, 2014

After we published a series of articles about dealing with the pressures, stresses, and depression of the holiday season, I received this email:

"Hey Buddy, Is there ever a site that talks to those of us who are recovered, doing well in our program, and actually like Christmas? For some of us, it is a time to deepen the contact with our Higher Power and our fellows."

Wow, good question! I guess we spend so much time trying to "help" those who struggle with the holidays, that sometimes we forget that for most folks it's a joyful, happy time.

So we started a thread on our Forum bulletin board and asked recovering folks what are some of the things that you or your friends in recovery do to celebrate the holidays? We received some great replies:

Laughter and Fellowship

This will be a pleasure to respond to. I will be celebrating my 5th sober Christmas this year! Yippee!

Last night we had our annual "Holiday Eating Meeting" at my AA home group. There were about 35 adults and 12 children in attendance. It looked like any ordinary family gathering! (Our Al-Anon wives/husbands and Alateen children were there as well). Everyone brought their favorite covered dish.....everything from shrimp gumbo to ham, veggies, salads, breads and loads of desserts! Yes, we do love our sweets!

In keeping with our traditions we began this feast by saying a silent prayer to ourselves to thank our individual "higher power" for whatever we are grateful for... then we all said the Serenity Prayer and the eating began! The laughter and fellowship was terrific.

Many of us stayed for the AA meeting afterward. Since it was an open meeting many of the Al-Anon members stayed as well... some children too.

We did the same thing during the Thanksgiving holiday. We had a "Gratitude Eating Meeting". It was a happy and joyous time with our families and friends, in and out of AA.

There are so many wonderful events going on this time of year. Our children are putting on Christmas plays... our churches are doing concerts and usually a parade or two to watch. I personally love to ride around the neighborhoods in the evenings to check out all the decorations and lights! (Some of our neighbors are surely in competition)! I load up the car with who ever wants to go and the Ohhhh's and Ahhhh's are a hoot.

As you know Buddy, not everyone in my family is in recovery and that is a little sad, but I don't let them stop me from enjoying this time of year. I am so blessed that I am sober and alive I intend to do what ever it takes to have fun. Too many years went by either not remembering or being sad and depressed. My higher power, the One I choose to call God gave me a new life. I try to do what ever it takes to "live" and "love" in the grace He so freely gave!

May God bless and keep you all during this holiday season! Love to all.


Mrs. Santa

Sure I enjoy the holidays! In the past, my late hubby was the community Santa and I was Mrs. Santa. We had our own costumes, too! What fun we had! There was an annual Christmas Party at our community hall, Santa would arrive and I'd meet him at the door, talk about his trip down from the North Pole and then take his gift bag into the kitchen.

The other moms and I would take out "newspaper stuffing" and put in gifts parents had already brought to the hall. Santa would walk around talking to kids and looking at whatever little craft they'd made at the tables we'd set up. Oh, the looks on those little kids' faces! Awesome!

Well, the first Christmas after my hubby passed away was looking kind of dismal. We just couldn't get into the spirit of the season. The community party was just around the corner {we hold it quite early in December}, and our postmaster agreed to be Santa IF I'd be Mrs. Claus again. It was wonderful! The little ones were just as excited and we had just as much fun. Yes, there were tears to be sure, but they were good ones -- not dismal at all.

This year, the party was cancelled. No big problem, these things happen from time to time. I know it will be up and running again next year. But who was I going to play Mrs. Santa for? Well, I'm working part-time at a police station now and what do you know but our Corporal wanted to hand out joke gifts as Santa during the annual Christmas Party ... Hey! Can I be Mrs. Claus for you, I asked? The party was last night, he and I had such fun. His wife was half killing herself laughing over the foolishness and everyone else enjoyed it, too.

I guess all this is about renewal -- sad, tragic things do happen all year long. Just because a holiday gets associated with problems, doesn't mean we have to give in to that sadness. I needed to renew my faith in life and the celebration of it. I did it ... and I pray others can too.

Luv ya,

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