Contributor: Paul Loosemore, MA, PCLC, and writer for Addiction Hope.
The holidays are painted as a magical time of whimsy and delight. Well, if you are recovering from an addiction, “whimsy” might just start to describe how your insides feel! It can feel like your body is playing with you, and not at all ready to calm down its relentless pull.
Where are joy, rest and relationship amidst the mass of cravings, loneliness, shame and desire? It starts with a dirty word: Hope. It is dirty because hope entices you to a place of vulnerability and risk.
If you want what you hope for, you have to engage, stop controlling and start living a new way. Stepping into life in this new way is very scary indeed!
Where do you look for hope? Is it family, romance, holiday sales or even solitude? Ironically the act of placing hope in a thing is a dangerous game—you better know that thing can deliver on its promise!
Have you carefully considered what you are hoping in this holiday season? When we do, we find glimmers of long suppressed or ignored desires that we are hungry for, and fuelled our addiction.
Addiction is far more intelligent than we assume. It has realized that we are thirsty for something good, and that we haven’t found it. Addiction takes that thirst and diverts it from our attention, replacing it with a tepid momentary balm.
Whilst recovering, you will find you thirst for connection, relationship, meaning, care, nurture, significance or impact can reignite. This is the dirty risk of hope.
Risk of Hope
Firstly, you have the ability to move toward hope with honesty. Have conversations with yourself and others about what it is you really do want. (No points here for “being tough” and “going it alone”)! Write it out clearly for yourself.
Secondly, recovery allows you the space of mind to start engaging. Mindfulness is a rich practice of focusing on the present moment. You cannot enjoy what you are not engaged with. Grandma or the ‘weird cousins’ may drive you nuts.
You can’t change Grandma (or the cousins), but you can pay attention, in the moment, with intent and calmness.
Take some deep breaths and be present with positive experiences.
Thirdly, when it seems too much, or you are just plain tired—talk to yourself!
Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches us how to intercept the negative words that we are saying to ourselves.
Consider what negatives you are thinking to yourself and write out ‘counter points’, finding the opposite position. Repeat these to yourself.
Fourthly, we are all wired for connection. Invite people into your life. This could be as simple as asking the one person at the party you like being with to step into another room so you don’t have to listen to Grandma and the cousins anymore.
More significantly, invite someone to hear how recovery is for you—with no expectations. Being truly connected, beyond “turkey stuffing conversation” is vital.
Hope is a dirty word because it invites you to feel the weight of what you long for, and yet it can fuel you to move towards it.
Wishing you a hope filled holiday season.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
How do you find hope during the holidays? What activities to you participate in and which do you avoid in order to support your recovery?
About the author: Written by Paul Loosemore, MA PLPC. Paul works as a mental health counselor, and consults with those who wish to recover from Sexual Addiction—He is the founder of www.stopsexualaddiction.com.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 20, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com