If you celebrated Easter as a child, you’ll probably recall new Easter dresses, decorated egg hunts, white bunnies with pink ears (and wondering what they have to do with Easter), and chocolate. If you went to church on Easter Sunday, you’ll remember hearing the story of Jesus’s resurrection: the stone rolled away from the tomb, the reunion with Mary and the disciples.
Spring Signifies Renewal
If you don’t come from (or no longer identify with) a religious tradition that celebrates Easter, you can still, if you choose to, find meaning in the holiday. Easter and its season of the year, spring, are a time to celebrate renewal. What was dead and buried lives again, transformed. Flowers bloom. The weather warms. The days lighten. In terms of recovery from substance use disorder, you, too, have been reborn. You have undergone a transformation both painful and beautiful. So why not honor it this Easter?
We encourage you to rally yourself, gather some friends and/or family, and make this Easter a celebration of the spirit of life that has brought you to this point. Here are some ideas:
Throw an Easter party.
Require everyone to wear an “brand-new” outfit bought from their local thrift store (the more outlandish, the better), hat mandatory. Decorate your hats for Easter, then entertain your neighbors by taking a group walk around town.
Take a sunrise hike.
Get yourself out of bed, bundle up, and greet the new day by yourself or with people you love. Whoever sees the most rabbits gets a prize.
Host a hunt for…something.
Doesn’t have to be eggs. The fun is in the hunt, so get creative about what you hide and where. One idea: buy plastic eggs and put a chocolate and an encouraging note (or a fortune-cookie-style prediction) in each one.
If it’s too early to plant in your area, host a “plan your garden” party – or host a group game of Minecraft in “creative” mode and build your gardens there.
With friends or family, draw self-portraits or make collages that reflect some aspect of your new, sober self–or of who you want to be this year.
Create and bury a time capsule to be opened the following year.
If you don’t feel like burying something, hide your time capsule in your house to hunt for next Easter (we’re betting you won’t remember where you hid it). Things to put in the capsule: a letter to yourself, a small item that is meaningful to you, some marshmallow peeps (just to see how long they last).
Whatever you decide to do, here are two important reminders:
1. Don’t be alone.
Even if you choose to skip Easter altogether this year, don’t do it by yourself. Find a friend to spend some time with that day.
2. Don’t let the holiday cause stress.
If you don’t want to cook a big meal, don’t. Instead, host a potluck brunch, go out to eat, and/or create a candy buffet for your guests to enjoy.
And finally, we end with this beautiful poem by Louise Gluck, from her book The Wild Iris. This poem, written in the voice of the snowdrop plant, seems fitting for Easter and for sobriety.
Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring–
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.