“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion.” -Brene Brown
As the holidays approach, let us be reminded that this time of year brings with it major challenges for many of us in recovery. No matter where we are on our journey, there are memories, emotions, and hurtful past circumstances that can be excruciatingly difficult to navigate. Those difficulties seem to be multiplied during the holidays when we are so easily reminded of torn relationships and lost loved ones. This will be my second holiday season without my mother, and I am again feeling the tremendous loss of her presence.
This can be a difficult time for all of us, so I know I’m not alone. Neither are you. We are part of a recovery community that loves and supports us.
To know that there are many fellow travelers on this path of recovery that I can be with at any time brings me great comfort. Since I began my path of recovery in 1986, I have spent many holidays with family and friends old and new, sharing stories, sitting in circles, talking on the phone, crying and laughing together. And over the years I have come to trust that the contentment and warmth of these shared experiences will always be there when I reach out. I simply have to make the decision to reach out.
But to me, the greatest gift of the season is to be of service. Before recovery I wasn’t very focused on doing for others. Today, I recognize the immense value of being of service. Nothing gets me out of “poor me” and feeling lonely quicker than being of service to those in need – of my time, my attention, simply listening, giving a ride, sharing or serving a meal, whatever it might be. I never cease to be amazed by how easily I can become a part of instead of apart from.
In Brene Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, she explains that, “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing along in the wilderness. True belonging is not something that you negotiate externally; it’s what you carry in your heart.”
My wish for you this holiday season is that you come to know and trust that you are truly never alone. It takes great effort for most of us to reach out, to be in community, and experience the joy that comes with togetherness. We learn these things through our repeated, shared experiences in recovery. Keep reaching out!