Christmas is a few short days away now and before you kick back with your peppermint mocha, while watching way too many holiday Hallmark movies (ok, maybe that’s only a few of you husbands), I want to encourage you this Christmas to not take a break from your recovery journey. The holidays are some of the most triggering times for individuals struggling with an addiction. Research has even shown that the two most popular days for people to flock to pornography is the day after Thanksgiving and two days after Christmas.
Why is this? Well, among many reasons, being around family can very triggering. Perhaps there is some kind of pain related to different individuals at home or maybe a past abuse that occurred. Being far away is just as triggering. In these COVID-10 days we live in, some literally can’t travel to see their families this year. And the stress from that reality is simply too much for some.
Thinking back on the holidays during my addiction, I remember many moments sinking into a hole of disconnection from people and allowing myself to wallow in loneliness and despair. The irony of those of those moments is that the very thing I was running from was what my soul was really needing: a longing to know true love and be known by people.
If the holidays are especially tough for you, I want to encourage you that you don’t have to experience Christmas this year the same way you have in years past. The holidays can be a rejuvenating and refreshing time for you. That’s why there are a few recovery gifts I’d like to give you this Christmas. Make sure you unwrap these gifts before you settle into Christmas and New Year’s.
The first gift perhaps requires the most work on your part…
- FOCUS — Maybe you’re a student who just finished mid-terms or you work at a company that just wrapped up a huge project for the year. Focus is probably the last thing you want to do during your Christmas break. I remember feeling so exhausted and burned out coming home for the holidays, I just wanted a break. It’s easy to get sidetracked and super stressed out before and during the holidays — it seems to happen every year! But we really need to pay close attention to what is going on inside of us. Asking yourself questions like, “What am I feeling?”, “What are my triggers?”, “Why am I feeling pulled to act out?” These are all incredibly valid questions to be asking yourself. You have to remember that your greatest treasure is your heart. In Proverbs, it uses some pretty strong language: “ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart, because it determines the course of your life.” Slow down and hold your heart close during the holidays. Stay focused!
- CONNECTION — The necessity of being around safe, healthy people during the holidays cannot be overstated. There’s so much life to be found in being with people to celebrate, to laugh, and even to cry. The flip side of the coin is that there can also be disappointment and pain that comes with being around certain family members or friends. But staying connected to your support people is so crucial during the holidays! We’re often surrounded by so many friends and family and yet we find ourselves struggling alone. Make it your goal this holiday season to sit down with people who care about your heart and your recovery journey. Share with them how you’re doing, what questions you have, and seek the Lord together so you can become the man or woman that God wants you to be! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone at times, but if that’s all you’re wanting to do, make sure you check the dashboard of your heart for any warning lights that are pointing to a deeper problem going on.
- REST — In what is quite possibly the most important holiday purity tip that impacts our physical and emotional health the most, getting proper rest probably tops the list. During sleep the brain performs so many incredibly helpful functions that we’re not even aware of including: reinforcing the immune system, resetting stress to zero, repairing the body physically, and even correcting traumatic moments that have occurred. That’s amazing! So remember during the holidays the importance of rest. Even when you’re tempted to stay up late into the night with friends and family, make sure you’re getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Your brain, your body, and your recovery will thank you!
Throughout my recovery journey, I’ve found these “gifts” invaluable. Another gift in my life has been Small Groups Online. Small Groups Online is an incredible opportunity for you to meet others who are struggling the same way you are. It promises a safe and healthy atmosphere. Through communication with others in the group about your addiction, you will find a renewed sense of courage spring up in you to become a person of sexual integrity.
Check out Small Groups Online today!