This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 84)
Happy Holidays. A common greeting, but not always true of us who use, have used, are in recovery, or have gone through recovery. There are emotional ups and downs for many of us that might not even have any reasonable explanation. The challenge is not if there will be emotional ups and downs, the real problem is how we manage ourselves and the ups and downs through the season. Just saying “Happy Holidays” and pretending is not enough.
We need to remain watchful for changes in feelings, thoughts and actions and immediately take action. That is to live life as outlined in Steps 10, 11 and 12. When you feel such changes, confront them by…
- Asking God to give you strength and remove them
- Discuss the problem with somebody (somebody who is helpful, caring, strong enough to tell you the truth and is wise enough to give you guidance in the first place)
- If somebody else was harmed by your actions get yourself mentally able to fix what you have done and then honestly attempt to fix it QUICKLY.
- Focus on how you can help somebody in ways that you have been helped or wish you had been helped (change your thoughts from what you will get from the season and to what you will give to others
Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg 62)
If selfishness and self-centeredness is such a big problem for addicts and alcoholics, then spending the whole holiday season focused on whet you will get and what people are going to do for you is a terrible and huge step backwards. A healthy focus on doing what is best for someone else during the holidays is often the way to go.
- When dealing with the craziness, hustle, and bustle of the holidays constantly remind yourself that “Love and tolerance of others is our code.”
These may seem like some small changes, but they make all of the difference in the world. I am not saying that if you do these things there will be no stress and your life will be perfect. What I am saying is that if you do these things, you will probably be able to keep the tension and stress at a manageable level and have a holiday season that is overall a great one to remember.