Happy Holidays! The festivities are here again but this year has changed for me dramatically in addiction recovery. Before, each year as time went by, the holidays became less and less appealing, as I sank deeper and deeper into the introverted and secluded life that was my using.
Nothing external had changed each year as far as what traditions or holiday plans happened, but everything internal went downhill during my addiction. I quickly started to separate myself from the usual happenings of the season. While ever other person was cheery and happy to come together, I was lurking in the back corner trying to avoid even a simple “Hello”. Every day of the year became a constant struggle that grew even greater every year towards those last few months.
I did not feel like I belonged around anyone and the silly thing was, I expected to find the community and conversation that I so badly longed for by hiding away and isolating from the world. Drugs and alcohol were an easy solution to temporarily fix these feelings of inadequacy but after a while they quickly stopped. Unfortunately, the feelings I feared so much we’re still waiting for me.
After all this, I have found the easiest solution, it had been in front of me all along I just refused to see it. Now sober and at the one place I had always tried to avoid as a kid, I have found the overwhelming sense of community I always wanted in my addiction. They all showed such a comfortable vibe with the want to extend friendship and a caring relationship that it is near impossible to not be a part of. With each passing day I am more enticed to be at New Life House and a part of this house. Everything from putting up Christmas lights to getting secret Santa gifts, the holiday feelings that I hadn’t felt before are now booming and unable to be ignored. Addiction recovery has turned around my holidays.
The humorous thing is that the most uncomfortable thing I’ve been suggested to do has also been the most helpful! This has been being suggested to wear my Santa Hat every day leading up to Christmas. Each and every day leading up to Christmas I wear a Santa Hat and I was also suggested to say happy holiday’s to every person that I come in contact with on each day. Before, I never wanted to be around anyone during the holidays. Now I am saying happy holidays to ever person I see on a daily basis! To my surprise, within even a week I had seen benefits from including this into my daily life. The biggest one being that saying “Happy Holidays” is by far the easiest way that I have found to start a conversation or just show anyone some attention. Whether I knew them well or not at all, the smile and usual return of a “happy holidays” was also soon to follow my greeting.
This string of holidays has become and is continuing to be amazing. Focusing on my addiction recovery has changed everything. The way I usually approached being around people, even the way I got into the holiday spirit feels like it has done a complete one-eighty from my usual Grinch ways in addiction. The guys in the house definitely make the spirit of community come alive and for that I am extremely grateful to have them all around me. Every morning I wake up surrounded by my peers, when not even two months ago I was waking up each day to an empty room in Las Vegas, Nevada with no ambition to be a part of anything. There isn’t time to not be a part of the festivities or my own life anymore – the holidays are now in full swing. The lights are up, the wreaths are hung, the tree is dressed, and the food is soon to come. The sheer amount of activities and tasks I can fill my day with amazes me. I never gave a second thought to helping anyone or getting anything done before but now I can’t help but accomplish at least two or three things to help boost the holiday spirits in the house on a daily basis. So again, here’s to a Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year!
-Ian L., New Life House member
Last Updated on May 24, 2022