By Kacy Ritter
For many people, the holiday season is unwrapped in cozy homes where warm meals bake in hot ovens, and loved ones gather to celebrate amid happy songs and stories. As the latter part of the year approaches, there is an almost palpable feeling of joy which seems to resonate even in passing conversations. Though preparations may be backlit by social expectation, the treatise that this is the “the most wonderful time of the year,” holds fast. Regardless of one’s personal beliefs, there is something innately spiritual about this time period during which a feeling of interconnectedness among family and friends is forefront.
For the still suffering addict, joyful scenes of merriment and cheer may be far from possible.
Sweet relationships are often burdened by the ongoing pain of the illness which sends waves of sadness throughout the entire family system. While some may be invited to join in celebrations, many will unintentionally tear away the decorative veneer of the season, disrupting the joy of communal festivities through careless thoughts and unscripted actions. As a recovered person, I feel particularly called to open my heart to the myriad struggles faced by others this season. After all, I have been given the ability to experience the closeness of loved ones (and the nearness of my Creator) because I have been set free from the bondage of addiction. Were it not for those who reached out in my own time of need, celebrations of this kind would surely be underwritten by melancholy rather than merry melodies.
Though countless December blogs will relate methods by which to stay sober through the holidays, many will overlook the spiritual importance of finding personal fulfillment through faith, love and service.
The men and women who came before me taught me how to live without having to face the arduous battle of white-knuckled sobriety. I am no longer relegated to avoid parties in fear of relapse, because the obsession to drink has been removed. Instead, I have been shown a way of life that offers me not only peace of mind, but significant motivation to give of myself so that others may find joy. This inspiration extends not only to my intensive work with other alcoholics, but into an ongoing spirit of service which (hopefully) shines through all of my affairs.
Giving rather than receiving has become a guiding principle in my life, one which I hope to replicate in my relationships.
While it is easy to be enchanted by the superficial concerns of the holiday season—the desire to host the perfect party, buy the perfect gift, or snap the perfect pictures for social media—I am glad that I have learned that these impulses are fundamentally trivial. Through the guidance of a Power greater than myself, I have been moved to discover and fulfill opportunities to help those in need, both within the fellowship and beyond it. The spiritual commitment to noncommercial acts has reminded me that the greatest gift we can gain is the one we receive when we give freely of ourselves. This surprisingly simple blessing can only materialize when we wholeheartedly devote ourselves to selfless love, and when we pledge to honor the lives of others through works driven by a desire to be helpful.
When we give, we receive.
As we celebrate this holiday season, we are offered the chance to recall our own fortune and joyously share our love with others. It is from this stance of generosity that we are able to meet the needs of our fellows, and in turn fulfill the supernatural longings of our own hearts. As spiritual beings, we are designed to share. Without question, it is the experience of sharing that will ultimately supply us with the radiant sense of peace that is embodied in nearly every infamous tale or tune of the season.
From the entire Origins family: Happy Holidays!