By Toby Brace
“In everything give thanks; for this God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thanksgiving is upon us. This can be a rough time for addicts and alcoholics and many of us will experience some depression and be faced with situations that can challenge our serenity and sobriety. We must remember that this season is intended to be a time of gratitude. For us, this means a time for “giving thanks” for the new lives we have been given through recovery and the power of Jesus working in our lives.
I sometimes struggle during the holidays. Depression tries to worm its way in. I am overwhelmed by the rampant consumerism and greed that infects our society. My thoughts drift to the negative things, all the things I’ve lost, all the people I’ve hurt, all the time wasted in the service of my addiction rather than in the service of God. As I mature in my sobriety, the question becomes – how do I effectively combat these thoughts? What do I do to not only get through the holidays, but also enjoy them and positively impact the lives of those around me? How do I show how truly thankful I am even when I am battling depression and anxiety?
For the answer of course, I can turn to scripture and understand that there is value in the ordeals I have and will experience; the ghosts of holidays past need not haunt me – they were trials necessary to make me the complete Christian I am working on becoming today. If I experience depression or difficult situations during this season, I must remain strong and put my trust in the Lord…I need to accept certain amounts of suffering as a necessary pathway to peace.
1 Peter chapter 5 says “Humble yourselves before the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…and after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal Glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen and establish you.”
The goal for me through this holiday season is to live it in a spirit of rejoicing, thankfully and prayerfully sure in the knowledge of my salvation and as a living example of the power of Christ and recovery.
Remind yourself to be grateful and give thanks this holiday season. You are sober and you are faithful and you live in the Glory of God!
“Let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:16