Leave it to a recovered junkie to say what everyone is actually thinking about the holidays but is afraid to say. They’re an emotional minefield that can kill you if you’re not careful. Let me give you some advice for how to navigate your way through in one piece.
There will be hundreds of holiday recovery slogans posted to your social media platforms this season. There always are. Beach scenes with quaint, vague self-help slogans that go in and out of your mind’s eye as you scroll past. You’ve seen them.
This is not that. This is simple and practical.
These are “Bob Forrest’s 11 Tips for Surviving the Holidays”
- Be good to yourself, protect yourself
- Don’t give in to negative feelings or people
- Don’t drink
- Don’t use
- Just make it to January 1st by any means necessary
- Don’t be around family who constantly shame you
- Be around people who love and support you
- Don’t fall apart
- Remember, it’s only one day. You can make it through any one day. Tomorrow might be better.
- Everything will feel better when the holidays are over!
Remember, our families created us. If we have failure to launch issues, if we are addicts, if we have mental health and personality problems, or anxiety and depression, it is because our families are the foundation upon which we were built. Be mindful of this. Be loving. Be polite. Be kind. But do not be further harmed by them.
I still don’t get Thanksgiving. Never have, not ever since I learned the truth of the Pilgrims and the real treatment of the Native Americans. It’s a crock. I found this out when I was eight by the way. F*ck Thanksgiving. How about that? We give thanks every day. We don’t need an annual event. Only the truly ungrateful do.
Thanksgiving to most Americans means food ‘n football. Let me break that down for you: in a society with a huge obesity problem, this equals unresolved trauma and a heritage of violence.
We as addicts are grateful the moment we open our eyes in the morning and realize we have escaped suffering and an early death, and traded all that for a life of love in action! We are thankful for our sobriety and our relative equanimity. We don’t need a reminder.
Remember…Christmas is for Children
And as for Christmas… we seem to forget, Christmas is for children! America has become an infantile society due to our unresolved collective trauma, so now adults have made it all about them. F*ck them, they need to get help and grow up.
But you can avoid those types these holidays. You can spot them easily. They are loud. Usually drunk. Dressed up like children, like elves, with their Santa hats. If you see these folks, quick, walk the other way.
Christmas being for children is the only thing I cherish about it. The wonder of Christmas in a child’s eye is why I endure the horror of the holidays. Other than that, it’s just a treacherous couple of days for us sensitive types.
For most, it’s an excuse to get drunk and overeat. So instead, this Christmas, think less about yourself and more about the children in your life. Whether it’s your own, or your grandchildren, or friends’ children. Christmas is for kids. Grow up and take action.
New Year’s Eve should be renamed Annual Alcoholics Day. It’s the one day where everyone in America behaves like an alcoholic.
The holidays, like life, are simple yet complicated. Human beings are simple yet complicated. Relationships are simple yet complicated. The holidays are simple. A celebration of… whatever – thanks and gratitude for Thanksgiving, Jesus’ birth, a celebration of humanity, a celebration of childhood for Christmas.
Now add these complicating factors to our simple celebrations: Materialism. Religion. Politics. Trauma. Sexual Abuse. Patriarchy. Competition. Alcohol. Drugs. And Feelings! It’s a wonder we get thru this time of year. But we do! Haha.
I always try to stay focused on the simple things. Be thankful. Be kind. Be thoughtful. But take no shit!
The longtime partner of Dr. Drew Pinsky, Bob has helped countless alcoholics and addicts get sober and find their purpose. Bob Forrest is considered to be one of the finest drug counsellors living today, assisting everyone from award winning celebrities to struggling teens. His success in connecting with clients and their loved ones can directly be attributed to his knack for communicating from an honest place of understanding and compassion.
An addict himself, and a former resident at multiple rehabilitation centers, Bob Forrest knows that while safety, containment and repetition help, they aren’t the keys to recovery. In 1996 when he got clean, Bob started developing an innovative and individualized structure for the treatment of addiction.
Bob helps our clients come to a place where they feel they are really, finally accepting personal responsibility for their own recovery. By being in a less restrictive living situation — a positive, supportive living environment, in which they have to really want sobriety — clients become willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve and maintain their recovery. In this sort of an atmosphere, they aren’t just sitting around, but living free with their peers in a supportive, low-pressure, non-judgmental, hands-on recovery setting, a real home, in which they can actively participate in their own individual journeys into sobriety.
“I want to treat addicts with dignity, love and compassion. I’m going to be honest with them. I’m not going to be mad at them if they don’t like what I’m trying to help them accomplish. If they fail or stumble or are defiant, I’m not going to get into arguments with them. I just want to love, help, encourage, nurture and steer people in a more positive direction of life.”