I love this time of year and all of the traditions that come with it. Baking cookies, decorating the tree – it’s one of my favorite times of the year. Even in the midst of my depression, Christmas/Hanukkah/New Years was always a shining light, a chance for me to not wallow in my problems and really get into the spirit of things.
This year, however, I experienced something during the season that I haven’t probably felt in over a decade – joy. The feeling hit me while helping my girlfriend’s mom make cookies, while my girlfriend and her dad were setting up trains underneath the Christmas tree.
What did it take for me to feel this way? The simple answer is that I’ve been actively working on my recovery for the past year and a half. Working on my recovery isn’t just about working on overcoming the biological obstacles; it has also been an acknowledgement of the environment I had been creating for myself.
There have been many toxic friendships and relationships that I have cut out from my life. I no longer spend my time on people and drama that is doing absolutely nothing to support who I am, the work I’m doing, and my recovery.
I have also welcomed new and accepting people into my life, and I’ve realized the importance of those people in my everyday life. My girlfriend’s parents have always been friendly and welcoming, and have accepted me as a part of the family. It finally hit me a couple of weeks ago, and that’s why I was able to fully immerse myself in Christmas.
Often the end of the year and the beginning of the new one means shedding things or cutting things out. Which I think is extremely important. But when we cut the toxic out of our life, we need to be open and accepting to the positive aspects that are new or that we haven’t noticed in our life.
I’m not where I wanted to be at the beginning of 2015, but I’m a lot closer to my goals now than I was a year ago.