This time of the year is tough for most everyone. Holidays with a loved one in crisis is beyond challenging. I was speaking with the mother of a client today and I asked her how she was doing with all of it, and her response struck me. She said, “I am feeling sad. I went to pick up my husband from the airport, and I saw all the college-aged kids being greeted by their parents and it made me very sad.” And that makes perfect sense to me.
Viewing entries tagged with 'holidays'
Last winter signified my first winter working in wilderness therapy. Wilderness therapy is a year-round operation. We function in rain, snow, sunshine, fall, winter, spring, summer, and all of the holidays in between. Some clients find themselves in the midst of their programs at Evoke during special and significant holidays. Similarly, field staff find themselves working some of these holidays. Last year, my shift was scheduled to work Thanksgiving. The days surrounding Thanksgiving rarely went above freezing temperatures. I had mixed emotions about working in the field during a holiday that I normally spend with my family and close friends. Sad and nostalgic, I decided to not have any expectations and embrace whatever this holiday did or did not look like this particular year.
Despite the ideals of connectedness, family and merriment, holidays can be a tough time for anyone. This is exceptionally so for families who have loved ones in treatment. This certainly wasn’t “the plan” was it? John Lennon’s lyric from the song Beautiful Boy rings true, “Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.” Evaluating our beliefs about what it is supposed to look like or what “should be” is really an integral part of the process. The clients in my group spend a lot of time assessing their patterns of thinking. The disease of Addiction requires a circuitous logic that allows the addict to justify, minimize, externalize and rationalize their behaviors. Under every drinking problem is a thinking problem and the process of recovery requires us to step away from our own best problem-solving. The concept of letting go is a central theme in recovery literature. Letting go of expectations is especially important. We often say that expectations are premeditated resentments. When we have expectations of ourselves, others, or situations, we are planning in advance to be upset when things don’t go the way we expect them too.