Holiday Presence || By Victoria Bresee MA, MAR, CHt.

Does your chest tighten and heart race, just thinking about the next few days? Do you wonder how you’re going to get everything done? Are you already dreading having to spend time with certain people? Are you worried about your finances?

No matter what our religious beliefs, December in America can run us through the gamut of emotions: love, joy, and happiness if we’re lucky, but also loneliness, anxiety, guilt, resentment, and frustration. Just when we need it the most, we may also find ourselves not taking the time for our health and peace of mind.

Here are a few suggestions to make sure that you and your loved ones are able to enjoy the love and fun that the season promises, that you have time for spontaneity, and to experience truly meaningful traditions.

  1. Take a few minutes to go back in time to three of your most beloved holiday experiences. What elements made it so special? Have you had any similar times in the last few years?
  2. Make a list of your top values and desires for this time of year. Do you want to spend time with friends and family, to show generosity, to connect with your spiritual community, to have time for reflection and for renewal?
  3. Now look at your remaining to-do list and your limited time. Are your desires reflected in your plans? Have you actually booked downtime?
  4. Now cross out everything that isn’t going to help you experience your truest desires. Add back in time to get outdoors, listen to music and connect with some friends you haven’t seen for a while.
  5. OK, back to the list. . . of course there are some things that just have to be accomplished, but slow down. Wayne Dyer, in Happy Holidays: How to Enjoy the Christmas and Hanukkah Season to the Fullest, suggests making every little facet a special experience. Be present and appreciate the acts of gift wrapping, decorating, and baking. Take in the aromas, sounds, textures and colors. Try to see it all again with the wonder and awe of a child.
  6. Don’t expect or even attempt perfection! Enter into the festivities with a light heart. Have you laughed out loud lately?
  7. Show by your example that it is not necessary to do anything for love and acceptance, starting with yourself!


Victoria’s own journey with addiction started in her 20’s. For years she searched for help, without much success. Finally, her explorations and specialized trainings brought her to new evidence-based approaches and tools, including powerful somatic techniques, CBT and powerful hypnotic visualizations,

Seven years ago, she created the program, “She’s on the Way Back-Alcohol Recovery for Women” and is now writing “On the Way Back: Regaining Your Life While Empowering Your Alcohol-Dependent Loved One to Recover.”

Victoria Bresee, MAR, CHt, has a Master’s of Religion degree from Iliff School of Theology in Women’s Spirituality, and is a Certified Integrative Addictions Specialist and SMART Recovery Facilitator.