Holiday seasons can come with a lot of expectations to be a picture perfect family with a picture perfect experience. The expectation of being perfect is not what stresses men in recovery. Through treatment and their experience of recovery men learn to let go of the pressures of perfectionism and live life in the present moment, fully accepting life as it comes, as it is. While everyone else buzzes about in stress, men of recovery are working hard to stay grounded, present, and somewhat relaxed. After living through the atrocities of active addiction, small stressors like holiday seasons seem relatively innocuous and unimportant- not out of judgement or comparison, but truly out of the first hand recognition of what really and really does not matter in life. Learning the art of radical acceptance and appreciation, men show up for their family and friends as best they can, realizing that each person’s experience of stress is different from the next.
Likewise, men realize that every person’s experience of life is different from the next and that every person’s understanding of addiction is different as well. One of the major challenges men in recovery face during the holidays is talking about their addiction and their recovery. There will inevitably be at least one family member or friend who has a hard time getting past their preconceived notions of addiction and judgments for having to be in recovery. The less people understand about addiction, the less they understand about recovery and what it takes to stay sober.
A common and, if anything, frustrating interaction men have to endure during the holidays is saying “No”. Certain family members and friends might persist in their petitions to a man’s addiction and recovery, even to the point of becoming frustrated themselves. Men can feel uncomfortable, judged, pressured, and plain old annoyed when they are constantly asked if they want a drink, why they can’t drink, and how it is they couldn’t have “even just one.”
Self-Care During The Holidays
The expected and unexpected stressors of the holidays necessitate a solid foundation of recovery to operate from, which means keeping up with all forms of self-care and recovery routine.
Staying Happy And Healthy
Science has proven that happiness is a result of healthiness and vice versa. Men who graduate from a Tree House Recovery program learn the importance of maintaining their health and wellness through exercise, stretching, yoga, meditation, and a well-rounded diet. Every day of the holiday season, men put their tools of recovery into practice.
To stay happy and healthy during the holiday season, men need to exercise daily, meditate daily, and regularly take care of their bodies. With all the delicious temptations of holiday treats, it is important for men to remember that their body is their machine which needs to be well-fueled. Men who maintain a well-rounded diet avoid the peaks and crashes of overeating, eating too much sugar, or processed foods which also helps them regulate their emotion and mood.
Taking care of themselves helps men show up and be present for others during the holidays, participate in holiday celebrations and find themselves refreshed before the end of the years.
The low season of winter and the celebrations of holidays with the family should be a time of being refreshed for the new year. When done right, the holidays offer us rejuvenation with laughter, great food, giving thanks, and taking care of ourselves. When men don’t take care of themselves, getting through the holidays is a matter of survival, rather than a time to thrive in recovery.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program in Portland, Oregon, offering men a unique way to recover. Inspired by the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and the philosophies of proven recovery techniques, men create sustainable changes in their life, setting up a life without limitations. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474