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Friday, December 20, 2019

Paging Friends of Bill W. in Recovery

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The holiday season is still in full force with two of the most important days of the year on the horizon: Christmas and New Year's Eve. Last month, our readers will remember that we provided some helpful tips for navigating Thanksgiving without incident (i.e., relapse).

Naturally, we hope that you put your recovery first during the national day of giving thanks. If you did, then it is likely that you are still on the same path that you were when you went into the previous holiday.

Still, this year is not yet over, and there are two significant hurdles ahead of people in recovery. In less than a week, billions of people around the globe will celebrate Christmas. Both devout Christians and the less religiously adherent will observe December 25th in one way or another. For men and women in recovery, it essential that you spend the next several days developing a plan for maintaining your recovery through the coming holiday and beyond.

It is a safe course to deploy some of the same tactics that you used for Thanksgiving. Expressing your gratitude, whether through gifts or verbal pronouncements of appreciation, will help you stay centered. Making an effort to stick to your typical recovery schedule helps, too; if you are traveling, then you will need to make other arrangements for prioritizing your recovery.

If you fall into the latter camp, then please spend some time now looking into meetings that you will attend while you are away. Traveling in early recovery can be extremely challenging; being far from your deep bench of support and sponsor can make you feel vulnerable. The good news is that the helping hand of recovery is everywhere; no matter where you are, assistance is available, even at the airport.

Paging Friends of Bill W.


There is a strange phenomenon that occurs at airports across the country and beyond. Occasionally, those sitting around waiting to board will hear an announcement come from the airport's intercom. It may sound something like, 'will a friend of Bill W. please come to…'

Most people will not even pay attention to such announcements; even those who do will rarely know what it's about. However, men and women in recovery know who Bill W. is, and they know that a member of the fellowship is probably in distress. Airports, after all, are littered with restaurants serving alcoholic beverages. Alone and stressed about going home for the holidays can trigger an individual to want to use.

If you find yourself at an airport in the coming days, then it's possible you might find yourself needing to reach out for support. Your first move should be to call your sponsor, always. If they do not answer, then the next action should be calling others from your list of contacts. Hopefully, somebody will answer: they usually do. On the off chance that you are unable to reach someone in your support network, find your way to an airport help desk.

Ask the person working the station if they would please page a friend of Bill W. A stranger will appear before you in short order; they will ask you how you are doing and how they can be of assistance. Simply tell them that you are struggling and have a strong desire to order a drink from one of the bars in the terminal.

It's salient to remember that a meeting of recovery can occur whenever two people are working toward the goal of maintaining their sobriety. Sit down with the person who answers the call – it may be more than one person – and share with them who you are, where you are going, and why you feel like using. They will listen and then provide some valuable feedback; in a short time, you may forget that you were thinking of jeopardizing your recovery.

Always remember: no matter where you go in recovery, you are not alone. Millions of people around the globe are in the program and are there for you provided you call before you fall.

Wishing You a Safe and Sober Christmas


The Haven at Pismo would like to wish everyone in recovery a peaceful, recovery-focused holiday. Please utilize your recovery tools and never hesitate to reach out for support. It's always more comfortable to ask for help before a relapse then it is afterward. We invite our alumni to call us if they need to talk with their counselor or another member of our team. Your continued sobriety is of utmost importance to us; we are here for you if you need us.