Happy holidays! In 2021, I can look back and feel so much gratitude for the December holidays. The Christmas holiday is a day for our families to reconnect, share stories, break bread, and share gifts. Reflecting through the years, I can see how my perspective has changed and for the better. In many years, this month was full of negative memories such as childhood traumas, drama from my drinking, humiliation, legal trouble, and isolation. In early sobriety, facing my first Christmas in sobriety, I can reflect on the meetings where I felt overwhelming feelings of despair due to the consequences from my early twenties. What a crazy time in my life! Isolation, arrests, humiliation, and pain. My stepmother quickly visits to deliver my Christmas gifts as I was uninvited to celebrate the holiday with family. She tosses the gifts through my door, hands over a bible, and suggests I needed to read it. After my driver’s license was reinstated, I relocated for a fresh start. My aunt bought my plane ticket and encouraged me to start over. So grateful for the tough love, encouragement, and strength. Eight months later, I checked myself into treatment for alcoholism and moved into the Women’s Recovery Home. At age 23, I felt so many emotions- disowned, terrified, and full of anger. If someone could tell me about my future at this time in my life, I would not have believed them.
Give yourself the gift of a sober Christmas this year, you will not regret it!
Christmas has a different meaning today. It symbolizes the birth of my higher power, family, great food, gifts, music, and holiday spirit. I cannot put into words my feelings about sobriety other than having a deep sense of love and grace from God. I can see how many times there were windows that opened, some I ignored, and others have taken. The benefits of living a recovery life, recreating a new life full of love, acceptance, and healing. I face the winter holidays with excitement today. December 2021, I recognize sobriety would never have been possible at the age of twenty-three if not for the harsh consequences of my actions. Severely traumatized from my time in the military, unable to stop drinking, and full of chaos. Today, the military compensate me and offered access to resources for women with my service connection. I own a home with my husband that is paid off whereas, in my first year in sobriety, there were local churches that donated money to cover the rent for sober living. College-educated and working in a field where I could help others. So many blessings. The biggest gift in my life is my dad. No longer disowned. We talk every day. He is proud of me. Thank you, Lord, for your grace. So happy I could listen to that inner voice, telling me “It’s time.” I checked into treatment and never looked back.
For our friends and family of the newly recovered addict/alcoholic, I encourage you to show them some grace if they pick up the phone or leave early for a meeting. Nothing wrong with hosting a sober holiday event. If the person is the last to arrive and the first to leave, accept that they made an appearance because that is a huge accomplishment to face the Christmas holiday sober. Here are a few tips.
It is no secret how many people were hurt by an addict or alcoholic in their lives. My actions caused a lot of pain to my parents and immediate family; therefore, I encourage you to find a way to work through the pain (click here). My father participated in a program designed for friends and family of alcoholics, offering that tough love. I am the person who caused my friends and family pain and anger; however, today, I live differently today.
Lastly, I would like to end with a few resources. Twelve-step recovery groups offer “marathon” meetings, so don’t hesitate to look up the local AA or NA meetings in your region. Do not forget the virtual options to attend a meeting. Feel free to drop a message below for links or schedules. Happy to share a few resources.
Merry Christmas! Make it a sober one!