Navigating the holidays

Wednesday, December 04, 2019 - Updated: 2:45 pm

By Father MichaelDecewicz

This beautiful and holy season, when we as Christians gather to celebrate the mystery and miracle of the Incarnation, is a time of joy, filled with family gatherings, festivities with friends and many opportunities for celebration.

For those in recovery, this can be a season of fear. How can someone in recovery navigate the celebrations surrounding this season while still maintaining their sobriety. Allow me to share with you some ideas that can assist someone in recovery.

First: Go to 12-step meetings daily and sometimes multiple meetings a day.

Second: Call your sponsor often, reach out to those in recovery. Do not isolate!

Third: Pray daily, even several times a day, and go to Mass as often as possible.

Fourth: Go to the sacrament of reconciliation and spend some time in quiet reflection.

Fifth: Keep a journal. Write in it your feelings and struggles. Read over and reflect on what you wrote in your journal.

Sixth: Have an exit strategy. If you are at a social event and it becomes difficult, have a plan for leaving. Stay away from alcohol or drugs, or people, places and

situations that you associate with alcohol or drugs.

Seventh: Think about changing some customs that can be “triggers” for use of drugs or alcohol.

Eighth: Remember, being hungry, lonely and tired serves as fertile ground for relapse so: get enough sleep, stay nourished and hydrated, do not isolate and exercise.

Ninth: Embrace an “attitude of gratitude.” Each night before going to sleep, say a prayer of gratitude, making a list of what you are grateful for on that day.

10th: Always remember “one day at a time.”

May God bless each of us as we come together to celebrate the awesome mystery and miracle of “The Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.”


Father Decewicz is senior parochial vicar in the parish grouping that includes St. Joseph in O’Hara Township, St. Juan Diego in Sharpsburg, St. Pio of Pietrelcina in Blawnox/Harmar and St. Scholastica in Aspinwall. He heads the Addiction Recovery Ministry, based in Sharpsburg.

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