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Handling the Holidays

This is the most difficult time of the year. We are looking forward to many holidays: The great American Smokeout is the 18th, Thanksgiving is the 25th, followed by Black Friday. Advent and Chanukah both are on the 28th of November and The Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, is December 21. Then Festivus on December 23, Christmas on December 25th and Kwanzaa and Boxing Day on the 26th. In between, I bet you will find lots of other holidays, birthdays, etc., and lots to do with too little time for everything. Then it will be 2022 and we look at our year past with some joy, some anger, some pride, some dismay, and lots of hope, I hope. This time of year, is when those with food issues relapse more frequently and more easily than any other! No wonder!

Many times, we convince ourselves that “it’s the holiday!” and “One little bite won’t hurt” and we find ourselves in a major relapse, or worse, in a one day by one day struggle to keep the food down, and generally failing. Even those who are usually normal eaters struggle to keep their food sane at this time of year. It’s one reason why gyms and diet programs are so full in January!

Let’s be really, really honest here: we are working with a physical sensitivity to certain food products, and these are the products that are most in abundance at this time of year. You cannot change your body’s physical response to these foods, because it is the holiday. Your self-destructive behavior may not happen on the first day, but if you have one serving of your drug food today, it will not be long before the cravings and obsessions return.

This is your choice. I recommend that you do everything that will let you enjoy these holidays to the fullest, without the food! Have fun with the other festivities! Enjoy time with the people you love! Buy yourself what you really want for Christmas! Find joy and peace in your recovery work or your spiritual practices!

More than many other times of my life, this holiday is different and more difficult and challenging. Both for individuals and us as a nation, there are many new issues to be dealt with. A wise man once said, “An act of love will tip the balance”. And Father Bill always said, “Whatever the problem, love is the answer.” Let your decisions be driven by love – for yourself and your recovery as much as for other people and politicians.

Stay close to the people and programs which support you. Walk away from those who are toxic to you. Stay close to your recovery program and let those people counsel and support you. Stay close to your religious or other spiritual programs. Reach out for help when you need it.

Plan, plan, plan the food. Make very sure that what you need will be there. Stay away from those who encourage – or try to insist – that you eat foods that don’t work for you. Don’t try to prove that you can handle your drug food! These holidays are not about celebrating the “GREAT GOD FOOD” and you are no longer following that plan. Stay out of places and situations that trigger you. Plan how to handle them with your supports.

Don’t risk all the good work you have done in this recovery! Don’t risk the things you really want in life for that momentary acquiescence to other people or memories of other times, or sheer impulse. Draw appropriate and loving. but firm boundaries with those who encourage you to eat badly.

I want you to come to January 2nd, 2022 with joy and relief and a sense of real accomplishment! I want you to enjoy the new year with sanity and the ability to create the life you really want – with abstinence and a feeling of a special kind of power.  If you need extra help during this holiday season, I am offering four programs – each 2 ½ hours on different days.  Please see the information below.

Blessings and Abstinence and Peace to you,



The holidays are here and you’re not ready,

There’s too much work and you’re not merry,

You have no cheer, and can’t wait for it to be Next Year!

With food all around and the kids always calling,

It’s no wonder you feel your abstinence falling,

Come, share your stress, with others who understand the mess.

The end of year holidays are fast approaching, and for many of you this is the most difficult time of the year with all of the special holiday foods in every nook and cranny, the pressures of gifts and visits, and still the usual day-to-day chaos.  Usually, to help you through this season, I offer an “Emergency Road Service” type of course that runs through the entire holiday season.  This year I am going to do something different.

This year, I offer you four superb new programs. They will be recorded if you cannot come at the time of the program, you may take any or all, and there is a discount for  taking more than one class.

Monday November 22, from 6 pm EST to 8:30 pm EST is DAMAGE CONTROL.

If you are struggling with the food, and want help to get safe and sober, join us.  We will talk about what you can do NOW to start to recover your abstinence, and how to stay focused on your food goals during the chaotic days ahead.

Tuesday November 23, from 6 pm EST to 8:30 pm EST is PROPER PLANNING, BOUNDARIES, and SELF-CARE.

We will talk about how to plan and handle those special meals and events, managing difficult family situations around food, how to create and maintain effective boundaries with yourself, and the ways you can take time for yourself and still get everything done.

Tuesday, December7, from 6 pm EST to 8:30 pm EST is MORE BOUNDARIES, SELF CARE and HAVING FUN.

How can we best enjoy this holiday without sacrificing our sanity and abstinence?  We will discuss how effective boundaries can enhance your food abstinence and enjoyment of the holidays, creating your own abstinent celebrations, and how to handle boundary violations.

Tuesday January 4, 2022, from 6 pm EST to 8:30 pm EST is A NEW YEAR!

We will talk about planning the new year to help you get the life you really want, setting goals for your food and abstinence, how to execute your plan, and how to deal with the roadblocks and setbacks that so often happen.

Each class is $95 with a $25 discount if you take three or all four.  Please call the office at 610-275-3699 if you have any questions or to reserve your spot in a class.  I intend to record the programs so if that day or time is not good for you, you can just listen to the recording. We will be incredibly careful to protect your privacy in this project. I promise.

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