Gosh who’s trying to keep things together through Christmas? More importantly who is trying to stay clean and sober through Christmas? Or better yet..are you thinking how the F- - K DO I STAY CLEAN through Christmas?
I sure thought that! Gosh…I had no idea how I would be able to manage not drinking? All the emotions around Family, pressures of money and the Party’s..the free alcohol..ahhhhh…terrifying!
This year will be my 29th Sober Christmas and honestly when we decided to write about this topic, I got excited because I sobered up 6 days before Christmas in 1991 and thought it would be easy to share about. However it brought me back to my worst Christmas Sober if I am going to be honest here. My first Christmas was NOT fun. I was very angry at everyone, irritated for sure and broke. Everyone around me was cheering and laughing and I was wanting to crawl in a hole and not come out! I was not even aware what was happening as I could not even tell you how I felt, first because I was so disconnected with me and second cause I didn’t even know what a feeling really was? I feared drinking more than I feared being Sober and that was the only good part of that first Christmas.
I was so alone, even when I was around other Sober Recovery people, I felt alone because I was just so lost, and filled with so much fear. What I did notice however was those Sober people had something I had not seen before..they had this incredible glow, and talked in a way that I had never experienced before.. a new language that scared me, but intrigued me. I wanted what they had!
I definitely did not change much my first Christmas Sober that is for sure! I went to the places I normally went, but just didn’t drink. It wasn’t very much fun, and remember my fear like it was yesterday!
My thoughts were running on a hamster wheel and couldn’t shut them off! I judged everything and everyone, my ego and pride was so big that it was difficult to surrender to anyone and anything. I could not imagine staying Sober long term, and was so miserable, I was convincing myself that Sobriety is making me worse not better. Then… I began fixating on others drinking, and the sounds of those glasses, the jingling of the ice in the glasses, the swoosh crack of the beer cans, and popping champagne bottles…ahhh..my disease was taking over…and it was only a few days without drinking?!! BUT then I thought about what those Sober people said to me…if I pick up..my drinking will never ever be the same again, and my disease has progressed to something that may bring me back to Sobriety or it may kill me. It’s a game of Russian Roulette. I had a couple of overly zealous people tell me with there happy voices , ‘if you get thirsty..(giggle giggle) you better call us first! (Giggle, giggle) you don’t want to miss out on the sobriety miracle! (Hehehe) Gosh..I wanted to stab those sober people in the eye with a fork!
Christmas Eve, I was in a place that had all my triggers present…I had that experience that overwhelmed me to the point that my mouth watered wanting to drink so bad..but those Sober voices were ringing in my ear..their giggles, their message…call,..make the call..think before you drink…So I did. I made the damn call and got out of where I was and met with sober friends and you know I felt so revitalized? I felt so overjoyed with good feelings? I could not believe how quickly I went from that obsessive panic over thinking about drinking to laughing and giggling with new friends SOBER?!
The next morning I woke with my son, remembering every detail of the night before and how good it felt to reach out and take a chance to be with other Sober people. My phone rang that morning and it was one of my new friends asking to meet up again, and I jumped at the opportunity. This was a foreign feeling to me, these people who called! Who didn’t want anything from me? Who didn’t care what I had done, they genuinely just wanted to meet for coffee. I went out with them and to a support meeting that evening, and did the same thing the next day as well, Christmas Season passed and I made it through Clean & Sober!
So now you maybe thinking..what do I do to stay sober through Christmas today? And that was the same question I asked my second year…How am I going to get through this Christmas Sober? I do the same thing year after year and its been working. I am a little less resentful, a little bit less selfish and a whole lot more happy, and CLEAN & SOBER of course! I always make my support meeting priority and plan around them. If I were drinking..I would not think twice about ditching my family!
So today, in order to be the best Mother, daughter, friend, wife, Gramma I must put my recovery first. We also do not have alcohol or serve Alcohol in our home and that has been since my first Christmas Sober, it was an adjustment for Family in the beginning, but now they know and respect those rules. I just needed to and still do need to eliminate any ‘risks’ that ‘could’ propose a threat to my Sobriety. Our home has much cheer around the holiday and it comes from our heart…we no longer find it in a bottle.
If it weren’t for my support I would be that lost, scared, hurting women. My Family would be filled with fear and resentment towards me as I definitely gave them lots to fill those emotions with! I am free today! I have so many rich vivid memories around Christmas Holiday’s and anyone that knows me knows it is for sure my most FAVOURITE time of year! It went from my least favourite time of year to my absolute BEST!
Each year continues to Bloom into something special, always sacred and beautiful..this year has already had its out pour of Joy and Love and its not even Christmas Day yet! This Christmas I will still scoot out to attend my recovery meeting ON Christmas Day and I do leave family in the living room..and they don’t mind, as the Mom, Gramma, Friend, Sister, Wife, Daughter I come home being after..is the one they love the most!!