What I’m Giving, Not Getting, This Holiday

Ever since I was a kid, the holidays for me were always my favorite time of the year. I loved the weather, the presents and the time off of school. When I think of my perspective growing up it was always about me and what I wanted, how I didn’t have to go to school for two weeks. I never took the chance to look at how I had been given so much from my family my whole life and that after I was a kid I started to have the ability to make it up to my family.

All of my experiences during Christmas time once I started using were filled with dishonesty and abusing my parents trust to do what I wanted to do. I would skip out of family events and take off, use money that was given to me to get loaded and never thought about the worry of my parents throughout all of it.

Now that I have some time sober, I know that it is my turn to show up for my parents as much as they have shown up for me. I don’t think this would have been a possibility if I had not been here and started doing the work to see how selfish I have been my whole life. The start of the month I didn’t know what to expect about going into the season and I couldn’t have imagined that I would be grateful for the guys here at the house. During the days of setting up lights and all of the decorations inside, I’ve never been able to put myself out there and dance and sing along to Christmas music. All the work that we as a house have put into making the season enjoyable for everyone here pays off; to know that I am able to change how I look at the holiday season and see that I have a lot to give back to other people.

A few of the things that I have started to realize that I can offer don’t have to be in the form of the most amazing material gifts. I see now that something as small as lending my time to a newcomer, making chores fun or even putting good energy and laughs into the room can go a very long way. Another change in perspective that I have started to have is realizing that I can have a balance during the holidays. As important as it is to be generous and thoughtful during the holidays, the only reason that today I am able to look at those things is because I have worked on myself and taken advantage of what has been offered to me.

I always have to keep in touch with the fact that if I were to stop doing the internal work that got me to shift how I view the things around me, I wouldn’t be in a spot to return any of the gifts that I have been so freely given. One of the things that I am looking forward to is seeing my family during Christmas, to set up a whole day around my family and all the others that will be attending the big holiday dinner at the house. I know for me, someone who took for granted all the work my parents put into my life and who hasn’t shown up for family events time and time again, this will be a huge change. This time I’m going to make sure the day is for my whole family.

I never thought that I would care about the relationship between me and my family, and to think that I can now spend the whole month making sure that it is not about any of my desires or wants is a good feeling. It is nice to know to my core that I’m useful today to the people around me in my recovery. Some of the times I feel the best are not when my parents buy me new clothes, but when I’m seeking opportunities to be of service and get myself out of my own head. I’ve spent most of my life trying to think my way out of the problems my own thinking got me into and now that I’m starting to see everything I’ve been give in my stay at New Life House and my life before hand, it means so much more to me that I’m not making it about myself.

-Ryan F., New Life House member

Last Updated on May 24, 2022


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