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Merry Christmas!

Written by Dr. Dawn V. Obrecht on Thursday, 27 December 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News

Merry Christmas!

None of my friends, Christian or not, are offended by this greeting, hopefully neither are you. I address my Jewish friends, some of whom are in recovery, (yes, there are Jewish addicts), with celebration-appropriate greetings, too.

For Christians, remembering the meaning of the day can be part of the celebration, enhancing our relationship with God. For those who are Christian and in recovery, consciously building on Steps Two, Three and Eleven during this holiday (Holy Day) is a wonderful opportunity. If we have worked Steps Two and Three, we have begun to develop a relationship with a God of our understanding and in Step Eleven we consciously improve our contact with our Higher Power. Important Steps for all of us, religious or not!

Besides the religious meaning, Christmas has some wonderful secular implications for those of any religion and belief or no religion. The concepts of “Peace on Earth” and “Good Will Toward Men” are in the forefront. For many, there is something magical about the season. Stores are crowded, children are excited and more people than usual are smiling and greeting friends and strangers alike. Cookies and other treats are offered everywhere.

This is a time of year when many people give to charities, often helping a specific group or individual. In recovery, we begin to be able to give instead of only taking. In early recovery, or while still using, we may doubt our worth. Conversely, we may be rather egotistical and believe, on some level, that we are better than others. Either way, we don’t get out of ourselves and find the joy of helping others. We discover that giving, either material goods or of ourselves, our time and energy, feels good. We seem to get more than we give. The fear of not having enough dissipates as we realize we do have something to give; there are always those less fortunate, in many ways, than ourselves. Some groups (or individuals) adopt a needy family and provide food, gifts, clothing etc. for them. While a one-time gift, this expression of generosity is meaningful to the recipient and a terrific lesson to the giver. Hopefully the giver will continue to give after the Christmas season is over.

Since we know this is a stressful time of year, one in which many alcoholics and addicts relapse, become more depressed or even suicide, we need to use all tools at our disposal to take care of ourselves. It turns out that focusing on others, giving and getting out of ourselves is a great way to take care of ourselves. Who knew? Actually, those who are ahead of us in recovery know a lot of stuff we don’t. Hmmm. Those who are ahead of us in life do, too. Ever heard, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”?

Some of the addicts I cleaned up with volunteered to help with a handicapped ski program at a local ski area. What a trip! Often a dozen of us would drive the hour and a half from Denver to the ski area, piled into two or more cars, and spend the day helping everyone from blind skiers to amputees to children with Cerebral Palsy all ski at whatever level they could. Some were tethered to one of us, some were pulled on sleds. Functioning as buddies more than instructors, we looked at each other with tears and in amazement: we were helping those less fortunate than ourselves! We have something to give!

Remember to use the Steps, to stay in touch with your Higher Power, and discover what you can give. I bet it’s more than you realize!

Merry Christmas!

If you or someone that you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, please call or text us. We can help you!

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About the Author

Dr. Dawn V. Obrecht

Dr. Dawn V. Obrecht

“From the Edge of the Cliff: Understanding the Two Phases of Recovery and Becoming the Person You’re Meant To Be” provides those recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse with practical lessons on how to understand and successfully navigate the two-phases of recovery.

“Dawn V. Obrecht, M.D., was graduated from the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine and did an internship in general surgery and residency in emergency medicine. She has been the medical director of a chemical dependency unit and is a professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. For many years she had a busy family medicine practice. Licensed in several states, she now travels to small, rural communities, filling in for physicians who need time off.

“Having been in recovery from drug addiction for over a quarter century, Dr. Obrecht uses her experience with life-threatening illness to identify with and help others to heal and to hear God. DocDawn lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with her husband, Erik Landvik, where she writes and consults in addiction medicine between her travels.

She is the author of several books, including, From the Edge of the Cliff, available at and on Amazon.

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