If you are one of millions who see the Christmas season as a time of extreme emotional turmoil and you are one who somehow misses the joy and excitement everyone around you is celebrating, then may you find peace in knowing you are not alone. Turn to the comforts of your AA groups who understand; lean upon each other for the support necessary to survive another holiday episode. We, as a family in recovery, find within the fellowship others who have walked this tightrope many times. We have experienced the fine line associated with sociable interaction with “normal” holiday celebrants and the challenges of not stepping over that fine line into relapse. The booze is flowing, caution is often thrown to the wind, we are tempted to have “just one”. It need not happen.
Know your program, know your limits, be on firm ground with your HP, and finally, always have your contact numbers with you if you are anticipating a holiday social affair or work party including booze. Don’t push it. If you find yourself out of your comfort zones, don’t be afraid to run for the hills and the safety of an alcohol-free atmosphere. It’s your sobriety and your life. Nobody at that party will care as much about your sobriety as you do.
Well meaning friends and family have in the past chided me, “Aw, c’mon, you’ve been sober over 30 years, a glass of wine won’t hurt. You’re not an alcoholic anymore.”
And that’s OK. They don’t understand the nature of the beast. But, I do. I pray to never forget the heartbreak, the lying, the cheating, the self-loathing, the stealing, the pain and agony of the bottle. Even 36 years later, all that is just one drink away. I am as close to a relapse as any one of you. Whether we are celebrating 24 hours, 30 days, 1 year, or many years of sobriety, all of us are just one drink away from the misery we knew in our active addictions.
One of the demons of the Christmas season is the loneliness. Don’t feed it. Go against your feelings to isolate. Avoid depression like the plague. We all have different ways to cope with negativity. Indulge yourself and a sober friend in a luxurious, expensive meal. How about a winter cruise? Shop for a new outfit for yourself. One of my favorite head-cleaners is a hike in the forests nearby. And, of course, meetings, meetings, meetings. Helping and reaching out to other alcoholics is a sure cure for the holiday blues.
As we progress, we learn what to avoid. One of my undeniable downers is the mall at Christmas. The decorations, the laughing children, and Santa Claus invariably bring back memories which should stay buried. Christmas music is another. I limit myself to listening just a few days towards the end of the season. We are all different in how we handle the rampant emotions. You will find your remedy and you can stay sober.
In closing, this is my Christmas wish for you. God bless you for finding the courage and desire to maintain sobriety in a crazy, screwed-up world. We are not alone because we know there are millions just like us worldwide. We are a brotherhood of God’s children who once lived broken lives. We have been redeemed. We have been made alive. We are not perfect but, God knows, we are better than we used to be. Your HP and mine loves us more than anything in the world. That gift of love is the true magic of Christmas. It was created to be shared. Share your love, share your life. Value and protect your sobriety for it is indeed a treasure from God. Merry Christmas.