Holidays bring on an exorbitant amount of activity for some people. There are things to buy, preparations to be made, cleaning to be done, invitations to send or call in, and sometimes even some home repair. In these times we can be tempted to skip or put off meetings or even start avoiding our sponsors. Our prayer and meditation time can become shorter or even non-existent for a while. Since this busyness brings on more stress, it would stand to reason that we should increase, not decrease, the activities that help us cope. Over the years I have found if I am really busy, I put off doing my self-care practices, then I never seem to get to them. Conversely, when I schedule those things first, I not only have time for them, but also for the other things I have to get done.
In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey, Ph.D. gives an example to illustrate this. He tells how one day he broke his college class into small groups and gave each group the same materials: a jar, several large rocks, several small rocks, some pebbles, and some sand. The assignment for each group was to place all the items in the jar and nothing could be left out. As the items appeared to be too numerous to fit in the jars, several of the students verbalized disbelief that the task could be accomplished. Dr. Covey assured them that the task was possible and encouraged them to begin. After some discussion, debate, and much trial and error, the first group finally accomplished the task successfully while the others quickly followed suit. Regardless of everything they tried, they found out that only one method could achieve the desired result. Put the big rocks in first, and then place the smaller ones around them. After that, pour in the pebbles. The sand can then be poured in to fill up the rest of the space. The conclusion drawn by the students was that when the big rocks go in first, there is room for the smaller ones. For the chemically dependent person in recovery, the big rocks are found primarily in Steps 10-12 and in other self care activities.