I can remember my first Christmas in recovery. It was very scary. Christmas parties and family get-togethers left me feeling uneasy and I remember spending a lot of time in the backyard by myself, calling strangers that I had met in meetings. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t drink.
Every holiday season you can count on sites publishing articles about “Tips to Stay Sober During the Holidays.” I think these articles are important because, let’s face it, the holidays can be tricky. For those of us new in recovery, the holidays can be a very dangerous time.
The most important thing is to stay sober, but it is also important to try and enjoy the holidays with your family. We get sober so that we can enjoy our lives and we don’t want to be spending the holidays in fear of drinking. The longer we stay sober, the easier it becomes.
The holidays don’t have to be filled with anxiety where every waking moment you are white knuckling it to get through the hours without picking up. It is important to remember what the holidays are all about.
So instead of giving you a cookie cutter article, I thought we would get into the real reason why the holidays are better in sobriety. It is simple really… it’s all about family.
As time goes on, we all learn to appreciate moments with our families more and more.
How many of us have made a fool of ourselves during the holidays? How many of us have ruined the Christmas party in years past?? Raise your hand if you were that guy.
The more and more holidays you spend with my family, the more you will appreciate them. You’re no longer wasting your precious time drinking and carrying about. Instead, you are spending your time hanging out with your little cousins, wrapping presents with your brothers and sisters. You wake up on time to enjoy breakfast with the family instead of sleeping till 3 and waking up feeling terrible.
It is easy to lose perspective. Sometimes we all need to get grounded. The holidays are good for this. With work and relationships and money sometimes it is easy to forget what recovery is all about.
The greatest thing about being sober for the holidays is the quality time we get to spend with family. Nothing more – nothing less.
Over the years I have spoken to thousands of alcoholics about all sorts of subject matter. In regards to this topic, it seems that we all agree that the holidays are actually more enjoyable in sobriety. In the beginning, the holidays were a difficult time but over the years, I have learned to enjoy the holidays more and more.
In sobriety I am able to enjoy the moments, I am able to relax and feel at ease with the people around me. This is such a relief because it used to be that I was constantly filled with anxiety during the holidays. Now I can be in the moment, be comfortable with myself and enjoy myself.
So that’s it. No tips, no rhetoric and no gimmicks. Just a quick reminder to stay sober and tell your family that you love them!
Merry Christmas – Happy Hanukkah- Happy Kwanza – Happy Festivus. Whatever you do, enjoy the holidays and spend time with loved ones!