Christmas Recovery Thoughts

Recovery from addiction is our priority and even Christmas should not be allowed to get in the way. Instead, we should use this time as an opportunity to revisit some familiar truths.


Recovery is for life, and so is Christmas. Every year they are there to be enjoyed. It is good for us to give them both some consideration, especially when this time of year can bring more temptations, for the maintenance of sobriety.


Carol:                                                         Slogan:

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen. = Give It Time and Expect Miracles

If you happen to be in rehab over Christmas, this one’s for you…

…. because recovery is to be enjoyed. I hate that quote that “addiction starts with pain and ends with pain.” Rubbish!  It may start badly but it ends with huge happiness. Just give it time and do your best each day – you will get satisfaction from that and your self-esteem will grow. Let nothing bring you dismay, because you are in the process of changing your life for the better. What could be more exciting? Welcome to the world of recovery!


Silent Night. = Keep It Simple

This most simple of carols is proof that the small things in life give the most pleasure. And it’s the easiest one to sing too. We are complicated people but now we need to de-clutter our lives. Enough said.


Once In Royal David’s City.  =  Life is Waiting

The air of expectation and excitement about what is to come is very evident in this carol. I reckon it’s telling us that if we think positively then positive things will happen. We addicts thrive on negativity because it gives us an excuse to do nothing. Try doing the opposite and ask yourself each day:

“What can I do today to make sure I never become that negative person I used to be?”


Good King Wenceslas.   =   Faith Without Works Is Dead

Old Wenceslas sets a great example in showing us that words without action are meaningless. Good intentions need working on. Willingness to change is useless unless we make change happen. He would have made a great therapist. I always feel a bit sorry for his page though.

This Christmas, do something to help a friend or colleague but make sure that they and nobody else knows about it. See how that makes you feel.


We Three Kings Of Orient Are  =  Recovery is a Journey

These three kings made an amazing leap of faith by putting their lives on hold to make a difficult but life enhancing journey. They did so because they believed it was essential and they were worth it. A once in a lifetime opportunity. We do the same when we get into recovery. It may be a daunting prospect but the rewards are beyond our wildest dreams.


The Twelve Days Of Christmas.  =   A Day At A Time

I think the message here is obvious: Life is full of surprises but we can handle anything it throws us, a day at a time, even assorted poultry and oddly-behaving people. You have to admit they are quite original presents, not the sort you get on Amazon (apart from the gold rings perhaps).


Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly.  =  How important is it?

Fa la la la la la la la!   It’s all very well putting on a show and telling everyone things are great but what’s really going on inside us? The festive season is great for those lucky enough to be leading secure and serene lives but not all of us have achieved this. For some of us, this is a difficult time that has to be endured rather than enjoyed because it may remind us painfully of what we have lost.

Let us all be mindful and especially aware of those who may need a friendly word or a helping hand at this time.


The First Noel   =   First Things First

What’s this about? A bunch of shepherds in a field looked up and saw a star that shone with great light, and they were well impressed. To me, it’s a metaphor for the Fellowships – ‘Group Of Drunks’ or ‘Group Of Addicts’ or whatever, who meet and receive inspiration through their ‘Higher Power’ on a regular basis. And it never fails – ‘It Works If You Want It’. Are we not the lucky ones?


I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In  =  Progress Not Perfection

What is in these ships? We don’t know. But like them, we are on a journey and making progress. Perfection is not something to aim for because it would be setting ourselves up for failure. All that is required is for us to do our best on a daily basis. And don’t be afraid of failure, it is a part of change-

“a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” (Albert Einstein).


O Come All Ye Faithful   =   Attitude Of Gratitude

I see this wonderful old carol as an expression of joy and gratitude. Of giving thanks for what we have and a happy disregard for that which we have not. Contentment makes poor people rich and discontent makes rich people poor.


The American poet Henry Wandsworth Longfellow was having a terrible Christmas in 1863. He was grieving the recent death of his wife when he heard news that his son had been wounded, fighting in the American Civil War. He was near to total despair but was moved to write this amazing poem that has inspired so many in moments of great unhappiness. It was later made into a Christmas Carol. Here is part of it:


Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


…Then from each black accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


…..And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”


So I leave you, with one more slogan for good measure: This Too Shall Pass’

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