Christmas delivers it very own set of challenges for the recovering being; it seems that everywhere, everyone is making merry and having a cheeky little tipple of their favourite sauce, families must be dealt with, presents must be bought, things must be done…done…DONE. We… MUST… Make… Christmas… Fabulous – aaargh! It may make you want to scream loudly from the top of the nearest hill. Please feel free to do so, but it is probably not going to help the cause. What will help is making sure that you look after yourself properly as you can only help others if your in a good place to begin with.
Time to Look Forward
One way of doing this is not to get stuck in morbid reflection, a real favourite for the addict and alcoholic and not just their prerogative either, the human race does this rather splendidly. Not dwelling in the blue funk can be easier said than done. The end of one year and the start of another naturally percusses this type of thought pattern, which is fine as long as you don’t get pulled down the rabbit hole.
Bucket Lists v Resolutions
Now, traditionally people make New Year Resolutions but in the innovative age of recovery these can be a bit tedious, a tad airy fairy and a little bit passé – what the recovering addict needs for the start of the brand new year is a thoroughly practical, pragmatic, achievable and inspiring Bucket List. The term, according to etymologists (brainy folk who studied the origins of words), comes from the idiom ‘to kick the bucket’ and is used in this context to denote things we want to do before we die. The phrase was further popularised by the 2007 movie ‘Bucket List’ starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson who are both dying of cancer and want to do certain things before they vacate their mortal coil. Stirringly, they achieve their aims and warm the cockles of the viewer’s hearts.
In this article we are looking at it from the point of Christmas and new year as this is when most people decide to set goals they wish to achieve however 89% of resolutions are ditched or failed mainly because they either set their sites too high and when they do “fail” they give up trying to persevere with their goals/ resolutions instead of amending them or trying again.
Not kicking the bucket now
Time and again in drug and alcohol services, the disease of addiction, which is a lifelong affliction, is likened to a terminal illness. The first time people encounter this it can seem a a bit dramatic but using/drinking addict is essentially killing themselves one sniff, hit, or drink at a time. Often this simile is embellished further by therapists and councillors who say “well if a cancer sufferer was told stop using drugs, go to meetings and do some work on themselves and it will be ok The cancer patient would, wouldn’t they?…in a jiffy …right’.
The bucket list seems far more pertinent to a community of people who were basically committing harm, illness and an early death on a daily basis than the outdated concept of resolutions. Furthermore, a betting man would put money on the fact that using addicts and alcoholics spend much of their time making a bunch of empty, barren resolutions to stop indulging and doing all the things that go along with that way of life. Recovery and 2017 is really time to break free of this vacuous wasteland of soulless promises and live with a bit of heart.
Grabbing Life by the Swamp Nuts
This list is about doing the exact opposite of dying, it is about living and remembering the things that you got clean for and it is not about resolving to do things, it’s about actually doing them. So get all Jack and Morgan with your recovery mates and do it together – support each other and make yourselves accountable. This is stuff you are going to do and not in a stressed out last minute Christmas shopping type way. Get creative and get inspired, use pictures and any medium you can connect with to express the things you want to do. You could even do this as a kind of vision board instead of the traditional list.
Now, you might want to get super control freak about it and divide it up into Long Term, Short Term and Life Time sections or you may just chose to keep it simple. Recovery can be difficult, let’s be real about this. We don’t all get clean and sober, fall in love, get an amazing job and move to a magnificent place of our imaginings. But everyone can dare to dream, set goals and achieve them. Many addicts have got out of this habit, if they ever possessed it at all, because none of their dreams ever came to fruition. Either they have been conditioned into a headspace of failure or have an innate terror surrounding success – what would you do with it? Do you deserve it? A bucket list is about breaking with your status quo and challenging all those old ways of thinking.
Why is a Bucket List a Good Thing?
- Writing this list of aims can really add a different hue of value and meaning to your life especially as you tick off each item.
- Many recovering addicts and alcoholics get stuck in the whole ‘I need to work to make up for lost time and money’ pitfall and this list is a great way of focusing on other life goals.
- The bucket list can herald a myriad of ways to build confidence and self-esteem.
- Recovery is a journey about personal growth and we grow through the things we do.
Ideas to Entertain
So, if you are sitting there with a blank sheet of paper which is admittedly a truly terrifying prospect, thinking: ‘I don’t even know what to do?’ Have a look at these ideas and you will find that once you start, it’s pretty usual not to be able to stop! Just remember to be authentic – this is your list and nobody else’s.
- A country you would like to visit
- A skill you would like to learn
- Conquering a fear
- A person you want to visit
- A place you want to visit in your own country
- A band you want to see
- A new activity you would like to try
- A new habit you want to introduce to your life – like going to the gym once a week, visiting an art exhibition once a month, keeping a diary and so it goes on, ad infinitum…
- Start doing some volunteer work and putting back into the community.
Your bucket list can contain ANYTHING you want it to. Stretch your mind and imagination, it’s time to do the things you’ve always wanted to today and not put it off until tomorrow!
Things To Keep In Mind When You’re Creating Your Bucket list
Making a bucket list and daring to dream is a great way of getting out of the festive blues and looking to the shiny possibilities that life holds for you. This is not a one-time deal either because over the next year you are going to have lots of fun putting this into action. Comically, sometimes the things you put on your list turn up in ways that you would least expect or you find out that something you have always hankered over really doesn’t resonate with you. Whatever the outcomes, putting the footwork in is going to be an interesting process