22 Dec Gratitude For My Family During The Holidays
In the past I always took the Holidays for granted. It was always viewed as a time where I had to put aside all the things I wanted to do so that I could attend all the family gatherings and functions. I come from a big and loving family so there was always a lot going on and I didn’t ever care to be a part of them. But today I get excited for this time of year because it really means a lot for me to have my family back in my life.
That’s what the holidays are all about – family and loved ones. I am blessed to have a life that is full of people that want to include me in what is going on. For Thanksgiving I was able to go to 2 different gatherings, all with friends and family, and I was actually able to be present without having to try to run off and do my own thing.
I was talking to a friend recently who is helping me build my appreciation for winter time. It use to always be a rough time of year because of shorter days, cooler weather and an overall feeling of darkness this time of year. One of the things they told me is that it’s all how I train my mind to perceive it. If I associate positive things with the season, I will have positive emotions and positive memories to go with it. I have found that to be the key to so much for me now in my life and such is how it goes with this time of year. Just learning to slow down and take a look at the houses decorated with Christmas lights and remember the cold nights being out late with my dad when I was a kid, trying to get all the lights hung outside. Or seeing all the colors of Christmas and remembering all the fun nights I had staying up late with my siblings when we were on winter break and watching cheesy Christmas movies. Those are the things that I am grateful to have back in my life, not only the family today but also the ability to remember and appreciate those experiences.
As I have grown older I also really appreciate the time, not the gifts or the items that come. But the time spent with loved ones is what I really took for granted for so many years. Also learning to give is really what this time of year is all about and sobriety has really taught me a lot about giving of myself to others. That is one of the things that makes this time of year so special being in recovery – because we already are taught so much on how important it is for us to give our time to others that when this time of year comes around we already know how to show up and what to do. This is a huge part of my life and it is what has allowed me to get to where I am today.
-Josh B., New Life House alumni