Running a weekly recovery ministry on Monday night’s often has its drawbacks. Most notably it is when an official government holiday falls on or is celebrated on a Monday. (And there are a lot of those in the American holiday schedule.) The leadership of our Celebrate Recovery ministry has to make a tough decision. Do we open up the church and hold our normal meeting or do we take the night off?
Most often we decide to take the night off.* But that doesn’t mean we are putting our recovery on hold, nor should others who are hungry for transformation and growth in their lives.
One of the key principles in any 12-step program is the need for accountability and support from others. Just like we can’t do life on our own, we can’t do recovery in a vacuum either. When times are tough, we are taught to reach out to others, to pick up the 100-pound phone (it feels that way at times), and call a safe friend who understands our needs and accepts us right where we are.
Attending a weekly recovery meeting is one way to get that need met on a regular basis. When our regular meeting is canceled due to a holiday, we might need to work a little harder on meeting that need, and in essence, not putting our recovery on hold. We still need to make choices in our life that are for our good, stick to our new boundaries, fight the negative self-talk, and invest in healthy ways of relating.
When we stop attending meetings, or gradually stop any good habit, negative behaviors and consequences can start to creep into our life. For instance, if we maintain a regular work-out schedule and then start to skip exercising, we start to lose our vitality and our muscle tone. In time, we may notice our clothes are getting snug. And BAM, we are back to our previous weight or unhealthy eating patterns, and wondering how we ended up in this situation. It is insidious.
These are some of the reasons we don’t like to cancel our Monday night meetings when a holiday rolls around. It stops the momentum and may derail one’s recovery train. On the other hand, it teaches us discipline in our recovery journey. It teaches us the value of meetings, as people often report how much they missed them the week following a holiday week.
At this writing, the holiday is President’s Day. This holiday doesn’t come with family celebrations or feasts. It is more like a bonus day off work or school for leisure. But when the Thanksgiving through New Year’s holidays are in full swing, there are a lot of opportunities for stress inducing situations that may trigger negative choices, behaviors, or even relapse.
The bottom line is this: for most of us who embrace Celebrate Recovery, recovery becomes a way of life. We welcome being in a positive environment where we don’t have to hide our struggles. It feeds us and encourages us to take our next step into God’s healing power.
Even though our ministry may officially close its doors for an occasional holiday, as your Brothers and Sisters in Christ, your support team is always available to you. And when you run into that inevitable situation where you don’t get a returned call as quickly as you want, remember that Jesus is always there walking beside you, and picking you up when you fall.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
(1 Corinthians 10:12, NIV) Don’t let a non-meeting night stop you from working on your recovery program. In search of a CR meeting near you, check out this CR group locator link.
*Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau will not meet on President’s Day. Join us for our next meeting on the following Monday night.
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.