Are you facing the holiday season full of fear and anxiety? Are you wishing you could just skip this season and jump to January? I felt this way in my first few years of recovery. I dreaded the season and all its festivities. The holidays can be anything but joyful if your heart is aching and you are feeling anything but festive. I’ve made mention, and have heard many a time, that it gets better over time. That doesn’t, however, give you comfort when you’re living through it right now!
I can’t go through Christmas without dredging up the ghost of my Christmases Past.
I can’t go through Christmas without dredging up the ghost of my Christmases Past. If you are in recovery, you have likely had a party or an event when you overindulged in the “spirit of the season.” I have many memories of being the one at the party who drank too much. My most humiliating one happened the Christmas before I went into recovery.
On Christmas Eve I waited for my children to get nestled in their rooms for the night. I had a few cocktails while wrapping the last of the gifts, waiting for “Santa” to arrive. He must have been late that evening because I had way too many drinks “celebrating” by myself.
I woke up with the shakes, so I started my morning with my “OJ” (vodka with a sprinkle of juice) and, of course, I had way too many. By the time the gifts were opened and the mess was all around me, I had passed out. I don’t remember the gifts being opened. I don’t remember the responses of those to whom I gave gifts — whether they liked them, hated them, pretended they liked them, nothing. I was on the couch, passed out / sleeping, and the house was filled with anger and frustration, all directed at me.
This memory is a reminder for me of how much I have changed. I went through the process of embarrassment and disgust with myself, apologizing and then letting it go. I can’t change the past, but now I can work hard at becoming a better person every day.
This year I am looking forward to the Joy of Christmas. In recovery every year gets easier. Now I’m making new memories that, being sober, I remember. Ones that make me proud.
This year I am looking forward to the Joy of Christmas. In recovery, every year gets easier. Now I’m making new memories that, being sober, I remember. Ones that make me proud. Change is not easy. Feeling good about myself, and recognizing the changes I’ve made, is so important. If the holidays become stressful, I dig into my toolbox full of supportive ways to get through my days.
If your holiday is different this year because you’re navigating the new territory of recovery and not feeling the spirit of the season, push through, remembering that your heart is in the right place. Pray to your divine spirit and ask for strength. Live your truth and trust in your values. Meditate to find your peace and serenity. Spread cheer from your heart. Spread joy, faith and love. Let your sobriety be the gift that keeps on giving. Remember — someone could be watching you, learning and being inspired by your actions and saying to themselves…”If she/he can do it, I can too.”