November ushers in the season of thanks and goodwill, and is a great month to practice gratitude. People who think daily about what they are grateful for have increased determination, attention, enthusiasm, optimism, and energy 1--just for being thankful! This season can also involve a lot of social gatherings--and it is easy to lose sight of the fact that these heartwarming and festive occasions can be difficult to navigate for people in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. Read on to learn some tips on how to help members of your community and family who may be struggling during this time of year.
1 Chertok, G. (2011, November). The power of gratitude. American College of Sports Medicine.
Recovery and the Holidays
Old Habits - New Habits signpost in a desert road background
Tips for Supporting Recovery

The holidays are busy and stressful for everyone, including people in recovery. To protect your recovery, or to support the recovery of the people you love, consider these tips from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation:

Tips for Families and Friends:
  • Set boundaries. If there is known alcohol or other drug use among family members, set firm boundaries around family celebrations, and communicate those boundaries with each other ahead of time. Learn to say "no" in a way that is comfortable for you.
  • Show your support. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with a family member or friend in recovery before the holiday celebration. Tell them that you are proud of them, and ask if there is anything you can do to make them feel more comfortable at the party.
Tips for Those in Recovery:
  • Good self-care is vital. Because the holidays present unique stressors that are not necessarily prevalent during other times of the year, it's critical to plan your self-care strategies in advance: gratitude, meditation, relaxation, 12-step meetings, whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.
  • Enhance your support system. Holidays are a good time to reach out more frequently to your therapist, sponsor, spiritual advisor, or support group. Spend time with fellow people in recovery. Let others help you realize your personal limits.
Tips for Campus Administrators:
  • "Bookends" are important. Talk openly and honestly with your recovery community before they go on holiday break, and have a plan to reconnect with them when they return to campus.
  • Prepare as a community. It's up to the recovering person to be responsible for their own recovery. However, communities can be supportive of those in recovery, especially during the holidays. Use these reflection questions from Smart Recovery to help your group prepare for the challenges that may arise over the break, and be sure to celebrate successes when they return.
Gordie Center Ideas and Updates
2016 Gordie Center Newsletter
The 2016 Gordie Center annual newsletter has been published! If you did not receive a print copy and would like one, please contact us. We hope you enjoy reading about the Gordie Center's efforts this past year, and learning more about our products!
Collegiate Recovery Conference
In October, the Gordie Center sent Tia Mann (our new UVA Recovery Coordinator--welcome, Tia!) and 2 members of Hoos in Recovery to Raleigh, NC, to attend the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Recovery Conference. They discussed recovery-related issues and trends with other colleges and universities in the region, including diversity within the recovery community, attracting and retaining members, informing the community about recovery, gender-specific concerns, and planning alternative events on campuses. The group brought back a lot of cool ideas and are excited to plan for the future of Hoos in Recovery!
Since November is a month for gratitude, we at the Gordie Center want to express how grateful we are for you, our Gordie Center supporters! Thank you for supporting our mission, helping spread Gordie's story, and working to prevent alcohol overdose and hazing nationwide. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Until next month,

Susie Bruce,  Director, Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
Jill Maurer, National Development & Program Coordinator 
Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention |

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