People who think daily about what they are grateful for have increased determination, attention, enthusiasm, optimism, and energy 1--just for being thankful! November is the perfect month to practice daily gratitude. This season can 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 when we have lost family members and mourn those who are no longer with us. They can also 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 recognize 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
HAZE Film Update
The Gordie Center's film, HAZE, has been seen by over 1 million students nationwide since its debut in 2008. We continue to receive positive feedback from schools, students, and parents about the impact and relevance of HAZE and learning Gordie's story. The Gordie Center is working with the original HAZE director, Pete Schuermann, to refresh the film, and we will have a new version of the film and facilitator guide available early next year! Last week, Pete traveled to Dillard University to interview national hazing expert Dr. Walter Kimbrough.
Gordie Center Fall Publication
This year, we decided to do something a little different with our annual fall publication! This year's publication includes profiles of our supporters and a school that uses Gordie Center products. Woven into those narratives are highlights of the work that we do at the Gordie Center to prevent alcohol overdose and hazing nationwide. We are excited to begin sending the publication out in the next few weeks--please let us know if you would like to receive a copy in the mail. We will be posting the publication on our website at the end of the month!
Until next month, 
Susie Bruce,  Director, Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
Jill Maurer, National Development & Program Coordinator

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