Dear You,

So the day has now arrived and I'd say this may be met with mixed emotions. Some of you may be counting down the hours til the damn day is finally over but others might be genuinely excited to see what's in store this year. Either way, this Christmas message is for you, because regardless how it is this year, I want each Christmas from here on out to bring more and more joy to your life.

Because that's exactly what they've brought for me and I couldn't be any more grateful.

I get that Christmas is a challenging time. I completely understand the dread, the depression, the desire to lock yourself up in your room for the day and stay away from everyone and everything. (Speaking from experience) I struggled hugely with it in the past and between the food, the people and the pressure I'd completely overthink and over-stress about it. My destructive mental state would dominate and suck every potential ounce of joy right out of my day.

This year, I've seen more than a few similar tales regaling how very tough this season is for people. But to me, that's limited in its helpfulness. While of course it effectively raises awareness of the challenges Christmas presents, I just feel that you don't heal a wound by constantly poking at it.  This blog has always and will always be about awareness of hope. So, I'm not going to go on about how hard it can be and how hard it was in my past. I just want to tell you how much better it can be and encourage that you gift yourself with the possibility of making it better for you too.

When I chose recovery back in a January a few years ago, I didn't even really want to. You can probably tell a bit about how that Christmas went, as I landed up seeking therapy within a matter of weeks. But from rockbottom, the only way you can go is up, so as reluctant as it may have been, it was still a choice that I made. 

Choosing to recover is a choice that is the most important gift I've ever given myself and it's one that keeps on giving. 

My life now bears little resemblance of that anxiety-ridden, self-loathing Grinch that I was before. It's hard to even put into words how much I've gained through working on myself and choosing to make my life better. It's been an up and down journey, of course it has, but I wouldn't change a single part of it. It's whole and it's mine and it's what has allowed me to get thoroughly and indulgently involved in life. 

I had no concept of how I could be when I began the path of recovery. I kind of thought I was always going to struggle, I just 'was that way'. I kept writing this story for myself of how useless I was and how I was plagued with this un-wellness that simply would not go.

Well it's gone now. And as much as I don't like being wrong, I'm delighted I was this time. I can't encourage you enough to also choose to write yourself a new story. Realise the potential that you have and go pursue it. This is the most crucial gift you can get your hands on. There is so much opportunity out there, there is so much laughter and connection and pure joy to grab with both hands. There's experiences, there's tears, there's challenges, there's all the elements the culminate to give a wonderful authentic life. When you genuinely release yourself into life, you're unstoppable. 

I always find times of the year like this so poignant; birthdays and special occasions remind me how different my perspective is compared to how it used to be. I just have an inexplicable gratitude for what I have now. When I realise how much I dreaded so many days in my life, from special occasions to the mere everyday, it's crazy to think how much more ease I can approach them with now. There's just no benefit from dread or any of that negativity, I get nothing from it and never did. It'd keep my mind busy and my life restricted. And that's not good enough for anyone, you and I deserve more.

This year, I'm content. Within myself and within my life. Food is just food, people are just people and Christmas is a day I'm going to enjoy. I'm so excited for the new year, for new changes and to continue to see what life has to offer me. 

It doesn't mean that my life is perfect but it means that I'm embracing it for what it is and finding the magic in the messiness.These feelings wouldn't be possible if I had chosen to stay stuck. They wouldn't be possible if I had given up. They wouldn't be mine to enjoy if I had decided that recovery just isn't for me. Recovery is for everyone, Merry Christmases are for everyone, even Merry Mondays are ours for the taking if we decide we want them.

Decide what you want. Decide to gift yourself with a life that you want to live.

Merry Christmas, I hope it's a a great one and the start of something new.

All the best,

Dare To Live 



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