Tuesday, December 19, 2017

“The best way out is always through.” ~~Robert Frost

“Don’t be pushed by your problems.  Be led by your dreams.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Life is problems. Living is solving problems.” ~~Raymond E Feist
With Christmas one week away, life can feel full of problems: ‘when will this and that get done, what will they say, who will do this’ or ‘how did that happen’ are just a few of the thoughts that can run through the mind during the holidays. Problems can even feel larger than life during the holidays, and take on a whole different energy. Thankfully, sobriety and Statement #4 in action can help keep things in perspective. 

A quote from our WFS Program Booklet on Statement #4 reminds us “The value of this Statement is in learning that we can control our reactions. There are times we permit ourselves to be bothered by people, things, events, and actions, but we can utilize new tools. By increasing understanding of our problems, we can better choose how we respond.” 

Applying Statement #4 proactively is helpful with managing stress during the holidays. Creating and using a plan can help with focus, balance and can alleviate stressful feelings during the season. Here is a sampling of some things that may be helpful:

  • Understand that some things are out of your control: How Aunt Crabby responds this Christmas or New Year is out of your control. 
  • Understand that some things are in your control: How you respond to Aunt Crabby is within your control.
  • Limit your time in uncomfortable situations: If you are attending a gathering with a focus on alcohol, limit your time to a brief appearance or better yet, limit the number of events like these you will attend.
  • Challenge your expectations: Perfection does not exist; no holiday can ever live up to TV/Movie holiday specials.
  • Define what the holiday means to you: Embrace your traditions or other healthy routines.
  • Focus on self-care: Regular sleep, healthy eating, and exercise do wonders as well as awareness of your feelings. 
  •  No is a complete sentence: You are an adult. You have the option to say ‘no’ anytime without giving an excuse. 
  •  Keep your recovery a priority: Plan for cravings; log on to the WFS Forum or call someone from your f2f group. A brief walk can separate you long enough to clear your mind or use the healthy tactic of ‘think through the drink.’
What other tips are helpful for you?
Hi 4C Women,

Such great tips. I'm looking forward to learning more that we can share with each other. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to create the perfect holiday - perfect gifts, perfect party, perfect decorations, perfect relationships - perfect, perfect, perfect. Even the word is starting to stress me out. What usually works best for me is going back to the basics, being grateful for what I have, what I am still able to do.  I need to do this because I tend to find myself experiencing the stress Karen described in her message. I realize that when I find myself going in that direction, it's important to pause and take stock of what blessings I have. This year in particular has been extremely challenging and I have been blessed beyond anything I can adequately express. The support I have received from friends have made all the difference in the world. This is what I focus on and to know I am not alone is the greatest gift. I reflect on loved ones who are no longer here and while I feel quite sad, I also am grateful to have had them in my life. Each has left me with love and lasting joy in my heart.  So this is my go to when I feel overwhelmed - gratitude, blessings, basic abilities and the gift of loving, giving, supportive friends. I guess you could say it's a lot of positive self-talk and reaching out to others.

Lastly, keeping your recovery a priority is everything. One of the women in our group expressed it this way. "If I had cancer and was doing chemo, would I say I wasn't going that day because of another request or distraction? I look at my recovery the same way. It comes first."  

4C WFS member
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