By Windhaven House Alum, Melissa P.
The holidays are typically viewed as a joyful and rewarding period. But for people in recovery, they are anything but typical. Instead, the holiday season tends to be one of the more difficult times of the year. And as a former treatment center “frequent flier,” I am no stranger to spending the holidays away from home, either in rehab or sober living.
The holidays I spent at Windhaven House were the best.
Knowing that this could be a difficult period, the staff made a genuine and concerted effort to instill an air of stability and normalcy in our very abnormal circumstances. Ultimately though, the people responsible for carrying on the customary traditions of the season were the other women who lived at Windhaven House. In addition to the staff, this community of women made for a season of different yet genuine fun.
Several of us were unable to go home for the holidays.
We spent Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, and New Year’s together. Living so closely, we had already formed an exceptionally unique bond. But sprinkle in holiday festivities, and our connection became even more extraordinary and profound. These women, experiencing things on the same timeline, afforded me both physical and psychological safety.
We had an opportunity to dig deeper during an exceptionally challenging time.
The holidays allowed us a safe space to go deeper and learn about each other’s cultures, customs, and traditions. The women who surrounded me made this time more manageable and significantly less painful. Even though I could not go home, I was grateful to be in a house, a community, and a type of family, allowing me to make more responsible decisions.
Windhaven House gave me a safe space to experience all the seasons of my life.
Windhaven House allowed me to reframe situations and establish much healthier and more comprehensive coping skills. By adding the holiday season into the equation, I learned how to experience these unique spaces of life. Windhaven House provided me with the tools to establish the inaugural changes of my new “normal” holiday season.
This new, but much healthier mindset, was the foundation for my recovery.
Embracing the holidays while maximizing my recovery efforts allowed me to utilize my time progressively and productively. Taking the sage guidance of my sponsor, my therapists, and the Windhaven House staff allowed me to work on my healing truly. Although I wasn’t with my family, I was fortunate to enhance my recovery using building blocks for all the wonderful and joyful holidays to come.