The Holidays Look a Little Different This Year….December 11, 2020
Every person has a different experience throughout the holiday season. Maybe you are spending it with family in or out of town. Maybe you volunteer at a local shelter to give back. Perhaps you are one of those who spend the holidays with your adoptive family. This could be close friends from your support network or other groups that you volunteer with. For those of us in recovery, the holiday season can be an emotional one. However, there is cause for celebration. Our newfound freedoms and the ability to enjoy the festivities is one that many of us have not encountered before. This holiday seasons brings a particular set of new challenges, one that necessitates us to pause.
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, whether you are in recovery or not. Whether you are a business owner, parent, or non-profit organization. We have all felt the weight of a global pandemic breathing down on us, swiftly, over the last ten months. As we move into the holiday season, we are faced with holiday celebrations in a new way. For many, this has been a test on the spirit of those forced to homeschool and even limit toilet paper consumption. For others they have had to close businesses that have been in their families for generations. Many have faced profoundly serious financial shortfalls because of not being able to have a steady income. As we approach this holiday season we are faced with a new decision, stay in isolation from support or face the new world order with protective equipment.
Let us pause on that question for a minute. Have you made plans with family? Have you went shopping for the holidays and are still planning to spend your earnings on family and friends? What are some of the alternatives to not indulging in this tradition this year? For those of us in recovery, it is critical for us to stay connected. Not only because it keeps us accountable, but also for our mental health. For years we focused on ourselves and what our condition dictated to us. Now we have been given the opportunity to be a part of life and our families lives. Unfortunately, for many of us we will have to surrender this experience this year. For those of you who are deciding to pursue different avenues, I have some great news for you.
Imagine what life would have been like in 1918 when the flu made its first grand debut. As World War I was coming to an close and as we were still developing information technology that would allow us to easily disseminated information as it is today. Today we have a level of connectivity that is astounding. We can connect with people worldwide through social media, telephonic and video conferencing. We have made this a staple in the modern world – so why have we been so hesitant to use this technology in our personal lives and our homes?
Revisiting the question that was raised, are we really in isolation? Sure, there are a variety of arguments to be made regarding physical connection, like the importance of giving and receiving a hug. Is that not just as valuable as calling and checking on your friend? Is video calling your parents, relatives, or friends not a tangible thing that can help keep you safe and keep your family safe- while also giving your brain the release of chemicals it needs to be connected? ABSOLUTELY! Why is this so hard? Because it is new, but guess what, it is super easy to do. I know some of our seasoned generations are not as technologically inclined as others. This will give you the opportunity to work with them and help them to explore a whole new world. For those of you who are already at expert level, you will get to expose others to your knowledge.
Moving into the holidays this will certainly be one for the history books but let us not forget to stay connected. We have so many resources at our disposal, we need to use them but also tell others to use them. Reach out to a friend and share with them your day. Video your family and show them your Christmas tree (if you celebrate this holiday). Host a video conference meeting at your dinner table on your computer or tablet and interact with friends and family that you may not have in years past. This is your golden opportunity. Please remember that some folks are needing your hand to reach out to them. Be the light for them this holiday season. Show them that connection is more than the physical world, but the spiritual, technological, mental, and emotional one as well.
PS. All of my friends and family are getting SMART home gifts in their stockings! Now we will be able to stay more connected than ever.
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YPR envisions a world where all young people have the resources they need to thrive in recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol. YPR’s mission is to provide the life skills and peer supports to help people recover from substance use disorder and reach their full potential. YPR’s core values are community, caring, respect, inclusion, and commitment.
Learn more at youngpeopleinrecovery.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tara Moseley Hyde is a graduate student at American University School of Public Health, studying public administration and policy. Tara is also a person in long term recovery and has been in recovery since 2011. In May of 2014, she began working with Young People in Recovery and established a Yong People in Recovery (YPR) chapter in her community in Louisville, Kentucky. She has since become the National Chapter Director and is working to develop chapters and programs of Young People in Recovery across the country. Tara has worked with universities across the country to develop recovery support services for young adults on college campuses to have the best collegiate experience while fostering their recovery from a substance use disorder. She has worked with SAMSHA, BRAS TACS, and other state agencies such as Departments of Behavioral health to design a standard for youth and young adults peer support services and bring awareness of recovery across the country.
Tara can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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