The holidays are over. Thanksgiving came and went. Christmas flew by and the New Year has already begun. For a man who has struggled with sexual addiction, the holidays may have been an enriching time with friends and family. They could have also been a horrible time of struggling with lust and temptation, all while trying to keep up with the normal holiday stressors. Either way, early January usually brings a case of the post-holiday blues. For the addict, knowing the next step to take is crucial.
A man who is working his recovery and connected to friends and family may have experienced a lot of joy over the holidays. They were a good break for him from the tediousness of daily life. He may have been proud of himself for the way he was able to walk out his recovery and not give in to sexual sin or shame. Being fully present for his family is a new sensation that he wants to continue in his life. When the holidays are over, though, the temptation for him is to become overwhelmed again with the monotony of his daily routine. The fun break of celebrating the holidays is behind him. The weather is colder and the skies are darker. He may see the long road ahead of him and begin to forget why he was putting so much into recovery in the first place. Or, he may feel extremely confident in himself and his situation and begin to wonder why he needs a community of men to hold him accountable. With any of this thinking, the door for sexual temptation is cracked open again.
For the man who struggled with his addiction over the holidays, his experience is much different. He may have been hiding secrets from his wife or family, not wanting to cause any disruptions or heartache during what should be a time of joy. He may have disconnected from his community of recovery friends, using the increased time with his family as an excuse to decrease communication. If he was actively engaging with sexual sin during the holidays, when they’re finally over, the rush of reality hits like a wave. The guilt, shame, and regret come flooding back. The break from routine that the holidays provide is completely over, and he has to face the fact once again that he can’t stop giving in to sexual sin. It’s very easy for him at this point to want to give up entirely. He’ll wonder if there’s any hope for the future and go deeper into self-loathing and isolation.
In recovery, whether a man is at the beginning of his journey, or has been on the path of healing for a long time, the post-holiday blues presents a real challenge. The solution is for a man to take action steps right away. He has to let go of his feelings, whether confident or negative ones, and move his feet. This means that he doubles down on his recovery. If he doesn’t have a small group with other men, he finds a local Life Recovery Group. If he’s not getting regular counsel, he finds a licensed Christian counselor. He has to be honest with himself. He may have been doing these things, but the routine is getting stale, so he has to shake it up. He can find a different group or start his own. He can switch counselors, or be direct and tell his counselor that he still needs deeper work to be done. There are always options. When the wrong feelings start to come in, he has to be honest with himself right away with what he actually needs.
The post-holiday blues don’t have to rule a man who is in recovery from sexual addiction. With revitalizing his recovery, and giving himself time to get back into a routine, he’ll begin to see that recovery is worth it. If amends with friends or family need to be made, they can be made. There is always hope and always time to start again. With the New Year comes the opportunity to become a new man.