Melody Beattie is one of my favorite authors from the standpoint of learning how to deal with life!
She has written several books which have truly helped me along this path called life:
Co-Dependent No More, The Language of Letting Go, Lesson of Love, and my favorite is Journey to the Heart!
And, while I did not grow up in an alcoholic family, we had our own variety of dysfunction. I believe all families have some dysfunction within themselves because we humans are just that: Humans! We have much to learn about how to deal with others who have issues which affect our lives and how our lives affect and effect other people as well.
Here is Melody's devotion for December 23 from The Language of Letting Go book. I pray that it will help some of you who go through a difficult time during the Holidays. We all need to have compassion for those whose experience may not always be as happy or healthy as ours....look around and see if there is someone who may need to hear these words:
Holiday Triggers December 23
One year, when I was a child, my father got drunk and violent at Christmas. I had just unwrapped a present, a bottle of hand lotion, when he exploded in an alcoholic rage. Our Christmas was disrupted. It was terrible. It was frightening for the whole family. Now, thirty-five years later, whenever I smell hand lotion, I immediately feel all the those feelings I did that Christmas: the fear, the disappointment, the heartache, the helplessness, and an instinctive desire to control. (Anonymous)
There are many positive triggers that remind us of Christmas: snow, decorations, "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells," wrapped packages, a nativity scene, stockings hung on a fireplace. The "triggers" can evoke in us the warm, nostalgic feelings of the Christmas celebration.
There are other kinds of triggers, though, that may be less apparent and evoke different feelings and memories.
Our mind is like a powerful computer. It links sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste with feelings, thoughts, and memories. It links our senses - and we remember.
Sometimes the smallest, most innocuous incident can trigger memories. Not all our memories are pleasant, especially if we grew up in an alcoholic, dysfunctional setting.
We may not understand why we suddenly feel afraid, depressed, anxious. We may not understand what has triggered our codependent coping behaviors - the low self worth, the need to control, the need to neglect ourselves. When that happens, we need to understand that some innocuous event may be triggering memories recorded deep within us.
If something, even something we don't understand, triggers painful memories, we can pull ourselves back into the present by self-care: acknowledging our feelings, detaching, working the Steps, and affirming ourselves. We can take action to feel good. We can help ourselves feel better each Christmas. No matter what the past held, we can put it in perspective, and create a more pleasant holiday today.
Today, I will gently work through my memories of this holiday season. I will accept my feelings, even if I consider them different than what others are feeling this holiday. God, help me let go, heal from, and release the painful memories surrounding the holidays. Help me finish my business from the past, so I can create the holiday of my choice.
May God bless each of you this joyous Christmas season!!!