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Spiritual Friday: The Holiday Season

The Light we are is greater than any seeming darkness.

This is the message weaved through every topic we share on Spiritual Fridays. This is the message of the spirituality and hope of our newfound recovery and healing; the idea that within us and all around us is a Power, a Presence, that is stronger and more powerful than our disease, our trauma, our fear. All we need to do is to turn our attention away from the darkness of our pain to the Light of love. We do this through prayer, meditation, Step work, helping others, gratitude lists, treatment work, and simply being aware that we are so much more than we ever realized. This is the way to change, the way to heal – not to punish ourselves, but to love ourselves.

Found in both Christmas and Hanukkah is this message of "Light” – a message of hope, love, and miracles.

For the last few weeks we have been talking about the holidays – acknowledging the pain, grief, and sadness of not being with the ones we love. We discussed the idea that our recovery, families, and lives are worthy of this pain that will push us to new growth, new strength, and new life. What a blessing that we are still loved and are finally learning how to give that love back.

I told the patients they give their families the most beautiful gift this year by staying right where they are and doing their work. The peace of mind knowing their loved one is alive, safe, protected, and doing their best one day at a time to live clean and sober is the greatest gift imaginable for any family. And the greatest gift our patients can give themselves is to become an instrument of peace, not an instrument of pain.

We asked the patients a number of questions:

  • How can you love your family from here today?
  • What was your last holiday like?
  • What will you miss the most this holiday season?
  • How can you love yourself more today?
  • How is your Higher Power loving you?
  • Do you feel loved today?
  • Who needs your love and prayers right here in the community?

We took some time to write our loved ones Christmas/Hanukkah cards. I asked them as they wrote to "infuse" their cards with love and prayers. I told them love knows no distance or boundaries and it will be felt.

We have a beautiful Hanukkah and Christmas Tree the patients decorated in the patient lounge. They each wrote their spiritual gift to their families, themselves, and the community on a tag and tied it to the tree. One read, “The greatest gift is to look around and know that I have so much love for those here.”

"Whether you are conscious of it or not, it's in your power to increase other people's joy, satisfaction, and safety through simple acts of kindness. A thoughtful word, a smile, acknowledgment, ordinary courtesies; giving something that is needed, listening with care, extending your patience, expressing your concern appreciatively, refraining from criticism, acknowledging someone else's point of view or legitimate needs, making time for someone who is struggling, assuming the best: that power is worth everything and that power is in you."

The past need not define us. What we did is not who we are. What we did is what we do as addicts; we hurt the ones we love the most, disappoint others and ourselves, destroy much and many on our path, but that is not who we really are. We are spiritual beings capable of love and beauty, peace and miracles!

That is truly the message of the holidays.

It was so touching to see and hear the appreciation and gratitude from the patients that they are still able to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones spiritually and understand they are giving a gift – themselves.

This Friday, we watched "Elf" and had a party!

I'd like to close with this blessing:

May there always be room in your heart

for divinity to find a birthing place.

May you be holy as the angels were,

faithful as the shepherds were,

wise as the Wise Men were.

May you have the compassion Mary had

and the understanding Joseph had,

and may the blessing of the Christ Child be yours,

not because of His birth night long ago,

but because His love is born in you today.

- James Dillet Freeman

Happy holidays!!

G-d bless you,
Reverend Laurie Durgan