Merry & Bright? #1

By Erin Schindler

For a lot of people, Christmas time and the holidays are not a time of joy. For many, this is the worst
time of year. As a person in recovery, I can understand how people can feel that way.

When I was drinking it felt like the perfect opportunity to use it as an excuse to drink, but I often found that I over indulged, didn’t feel well, and I made an absolute fool out of myself.

Then, when I first got sober, the stress over how to handle social situations was very stressful. Sometimes I am not sure which was worse! Also, when I was early in recovery, I didn’t have a lot of money. I grew up somewhat poor, so I tended to over buy for my kids to make up for what I didn’t get.

A big stressor during the holidays can be finances. Too often we will put ourselves into debt just to
“look” good or because we feel that is what is expected from us. But the financial stress this puts on us
can be too much. There is also a feeling of foreboding and many of us feel like we don’t have enough
time. What can all these stressors lead to? For people in recovery, it can often mean drinking or using
drugs to cope with the stress. For the non-addicts it can lead to drinking and drug use. It can lead to
illness, depression and of course as I stated above, financial pressure.

If finances are a stressor for you this year, be honest with your family. There is no shame in telling your
family that you can’t do as much this year.

Instead of buying expensive gifts, get an experience instead. Maybe it is something as simple as a lunch and pedicure with your daughter. A cooking class? A Christmas cookies cook off? Pet portrait class? Pottery class? A family 5K?

There are a lot of amazing things you can do that bring you closer to your family. And it doesn’t have to be just gifts. Do a volunteer activity? Donate to a charity? Join a group to Christmas carol?
Today thankfully is the last day to Christmas shop online! So, keep it simple this Christmas.

Focus on the reason for the season!

Don’t let the stress and guilt get you down.

We remember the memories of the holidays, not the gifts.

Make some great memories this year!!

Have a blessed and wonderful week!


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