I deployed to Tallil, Iraq in January of 2007. When my transport plane landed, I got worried. Would I hold up under combat conditions? Would I remember my training or, would I wither in the face of fire? I deplaned and stood on the tarmac to get my bearings and there a few hundred meters from my location I saw a church steeple. I thought to myself “before I do anything else, I’m going to go into that church and just say a quick prayer of gratitude to God for getting me safely to Iraq.”
We all know that addiction, whether to alcohol or other drugs, is brutal. Not everyone is sure that, in recovery, we get better. I believe that we can all get better in recovery. Life gets better for the alcoholic and addict who embraces Twelve Step recovery. Life also gets better for those who leave behind the alcoholic and addict who chooses not to recover, and seeks their own recovery.
The expectation of the holiday season can be stressful for everyone. For reasons that might be obvious, that stress seems to be even greater in families dealing with recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction.
There is a simple practice that can reduce that stress and offer us the opportunity for a meaningful holiday experience; that is a mindfulness practice. It allows us to stop our racing thoughts, which are usually produced by some form of fear. It allows us to make choices that support our well-being. It allows us to be present.
Walking into the rooms of recovery is often the first step to what could become a fundamental change in your life. A change that brings hope, a sense of peace and serenity, and even love. Starting this journey, however, is not just about making a decision to refrain daily from the use of drugs and alcohol. Of course not using drugs or alcohol is required to participate in the rooms of recovery, but the mindset of this change in yourself is something more. It is a decision to show up to do the work that is required to participate in having a meaningful life. Really, it is a conscious choice to invest in yourself by building recovery capital to become the person you were meant to be.