HALT and ABBA: Surviving the Holidays without relapsing

The holidays are upon us and with them a myriad of feelings, both high and low, along with people places and things not living up to our expectations, missing family and friends, having to be with certain family and friends, cold days, dark days, and debt days, all of which provide a perfect storm to relapse back into our drug of choice, which may be nothing more or less than just being a scrooge this Christmas.

But you don’t have to relapse and you don’t have to be a jerk this holiday season!   You can be free from all of that.   In fact, Jesus guarantees that anyone who will abide in him can be and will be free.

I want to offer 2 tips for getting through the emotions and roller coaster of the holidays.  The first one is an acrostic, which reads HALT.     Today and everyday, whenever you notice yourself feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT), stop and check yourself before you wreck yourself.   When you feel either of those things it’s wise to stop and consider your motives and understand that you are not in the best place to make sound decisions.   So call someone.  Get around people.  Talk to a sponsor.  But most importantly, recognize this is going on inside of you and take action.   An added bonus: A friend of mine told me we should add a “B” to this for “Bored.”   I agree.    Be aware of your feelings and understand that they will lie to you.  You don’t have to be enslaved by them.

Second is pray.  I want to teach you a simple prayer Brennan Manning taught me in his book The Furious Longing of God (a book you should read if you haven’t already, or read again, and again).   In previous posts I’ve taught the Mercy Prayer, which is invaluable to a recovery life, I believe, but this one is just as important and very simple to pray while you are HALTing.    It goes like this:

Abba, I belong to you.

Abba is the word Jesus used for God, which means, “Daddy.”   Brennan, a recovering alcoholic, found profound healing when he realized he was “Daddy’s little boy” and that his Father in heaven has a furious longing for him, as he does for you, too.   This short, 7 syllable prayer is the perfect prayer to correspond with your breathing.  As you inhale – Abba.   And as you exhale – I belong to you.

Brennan suggests taking a few moments every day for the next month to close your eyes, upturning your palms, and praying, “Abba, I belong to you.”  Don’t try to make it anything more than that, as this is enough.

As you begin your day, or as you HALT(B), may this short prayer remind you that you are loved furiously by your Daddy in heaven and that this is more than enough for today.

Praying with and for you.

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