January tends to be a very difficult month for me. With the holidays over, the brightly lit decorations both inside and outside taken down, and the winter really beginning to settle in with those cold temperatures, lots of clouds, and very little sunlight, I often find myself getting quite depressed and feeling somewhat blue. Add in my ongoing health issues, it can make for a lethal combination in my brain to seek anything that might numb itself from it all, most of which would be completely detrimental to remaining sober and in recovery.
The key to not giving into any of my brain’s numbing urges is simple though. Keep doing the very same things that have kept me sober and in recovery thus far. I know that might sound dumb to say because it’s seems so obvious, but the reality is that many addicts when going through rough seasons or tough periods in life tend to do nothing during them. Instead, they tend to isolate and wait desperately for brighter times to arrive. Unfortunately, those brighter times frequently never arrive because during the process of them hiding out and slacking off from living a life of recovery, the brain eventually finds a way to convince them to engage in something unhealthy to numb itself from all their sadness and depression, something that usually ends up being the very substance of a former addiction.
In my case, there are many nights during these cold winter months, especially right after the holidays, where my brain attempts to convince me that smoking some weed or drinking some booze or hooking up with some stranger might soothe my writhing nerves and pain, at least for a short while. Yet, continuing to go to my 12-Step meetings, continuing to sponsor others, continuing to do my daily prayer, meditation, affirmation, and gratitude routines, continuing to write in this blog, and continuing to keep to my weekly volunteer obligation has kept me sober and in recovery so far.
I have heard more times than I can count in the rooms of recovery that one remains clean and sober by doing their recovery work when they want to and even when they don’t, which means sticking to what has worked and keeping at it, even when the brain attempts to tell you it doesn’t want to.
Believe me, there are many days where I don’t to go to a meeting, or meet up with a sponsee, or share my experience, strength and hope with anyone. There are plenty of days where I just want to skip getting on my knees and praying, avoid meditating, and just do nothing. But, I know that’s precisely when I just need to keep on, keeping on, trusting that my Higher Power is keeping me healthy, clean, and sober, by continuing to do what works, even when my mind tries to convince me otherwise.
So, if you’re like me, a recovering addict who tends to find the post-holiday winter months overly challenging to navigate on more days than not, stay active and keep doing what you know has worked thus far in your sobriety, because there’s a good chance it may be the only thing that ensures you remain clean and sober and in recovery through it all…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson