Last night I watched a documentary-type show called "Digital Love Industry". It discussed the multitude of changes nowadays in the way we view relationships, sex, and love as a result of technological advances (social media as well as cyber-worlds). Rob Weiss, who is one of the country's leading experts on cyber-sex and the digital age, talked about cyber-reality being a part of our lives, and instead of judging it, he suggested we learn to observe it and try to understand it. After all, he pointed out, it isn't going away...
What appears to have gone away, however, is "the spirit" that we used to feel with these special occasions. Have we lost how to be truly present with and for ourselves so that we can also be present with and for our loved ones? This seems to be the case, especially during the holidays... We indeed have lost something....
When I was growing up, decorating the house for the holidays was a family tradition. My dad would play traditional holiday music on our record player (i.e., Tony Bennett, The Nutcracker) while we would adorn the house with holiday decorations.
Thanksgiving was a special occasion of having friends and family fill the house with love, laughter, and traditional German-American food. Granted, I grew up with an alcoholic parent so not all of my holidays were filled with these pleasantries.
However, of the ones I do remember that were happy, we did not have the distraction of escaping into the outside world in the way that we do today. Yes, we had television, but most of our time was filled with play; imagining tales of wonder with our siblings, cousins, friends. In my case, this imaginary "escape" during childhood, of playing over the holidays, kept my spirit alive, as I am sure it did for many of us.
Where did our spirit go?
Many of you reading this likely had upbringings similar to mine, where the holidays were not always pleasant or fun. In fact, many of you may only remember the painful sensations and memories of the holiday season. After all, most of us tend to fall back into certain "roles" when we return to our families of origin. This, in and of itself, can be painful. For some, finding ways to escape or check out, via daydreaming, fantasy, television, substances, spending, sex, gambling, apps, sugar (and/or food), going in a mental "zone", or social media, may likely still be your vice.
Here's the thing: you can escape if you want to. You really do have that choice. But, if you are truly immersed in recovery, you will likely have an internal battle going on between your addict voice and your functional self, FS (your voice of reason). Yes, there is that part of you, your FS, that wants you to be completely awake, to operate differently this season.
Your functional, authentic self is tapping into your true spirit and wants to keep you alive and well. Deep down, you know this is what you deserve; to be fully present to yourself and your loved ones, especially now that you are awake.
This week especially, you have the beautiful opportunity to do things differently than in years past. YOU CAN BE (or stay) SOBER! This may mean you have to go to some extra AA, SAA, COSA,CODA, OA etc. meetings and reach out to your group and therapist more for support.
This may mean you drive separately to family gatherings so that if you need to leave due to emotional triggers, you can. This may mean giving yourself permission to show up as who you truly are. After all, You are the holiday spirit; it is inside of each of us.
It is in this way that you will feel your spirit, and the spirit of the holidays, like never before!
Oh, and in case you forgot, you are WORTH IT.
RELATIONSHIP RECOVERY CLASS IS THIS TUESDAY NIGHT. Jenny Jo is our fabulous facilitator. Time: 6-7:30 p.m. She will be discussing couples' attachment styles and how they impact you in your relationship (especially when there is an intimacy disorder, since sex, love, relationship addiction are all attachment disorders) RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-272-3500.