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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holding On In The HOLIDAYS

For many people recovering from Alcoholism/Drug Addiction, the Holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving, can set off an annual period of Depression, negative thoughts and increased temptation to return to our old patterns of drinking, etc. Translation: A lot of recovering Alkies & Junkies want to get hammered during the Holidays...we can spend a lot of time feeling sorry for ourselves which is an extremely precarious place to be for someone in recovery. Not all of us are depressed but most of us would rather drink like we used to...

Oddly, I was not a big "holiday guy", therefore I never really thought about it much in festive celebrating or going to parties...I was an everyday drinker, I drank like it was a holiday every single day of the year...seriously. So it has not really been a more difficult time for me in recovery but I tend to be the exception to the rule in this case, I'd say...certainly among recovering folks that I know personally.

I was never "anti-Holiday" in the fashion of Scrooge...I just never thought it was that big of a deal. As I child I certainly did, believing in Santa Claus for quite awhile though I cannot recall how old I was when I stopped believing. I do remember pretending to believe for several years after I stopped because A) I had a sister 4 years younger then I and I didn't want to spoil it for her. Plus I enjoyed getting a slew of additional gifts from "Santa"....Sheesh, I wasn't STUPID!

As a child I was enthralled by the whole ideal of Christmas...the biblical aspect of it as well as the Santa Claus myth. It held a magical sense of what was possible if only one BELIEVED and that was a very hopeful feeling. One I still get today but now that I actually am a believer it takes on an even more special meaning spiritually.

I know though that this is rough time of year for some of my com-padre's in recovery so I am always aware that some of them, even those with many years of sobriety might be struggling.

My biggest challenge concerning Holidays and Birthdays is that I struggle or want to it's that I can be a real cynical and critical pain in the butt about it and ruin those occasions for others...that has happened quite often in the past. I didn't get why they were such a big deal so I intentionally ruined it for everyone else! But recently I have actually started to look at it all from a less selfish perspective and I truly enjoy these special days now. I think having two grandsons helped me a bit along the way but i work daily at being a less selfish person in my everyday life...I think it might be working.

So K and I are headed to my sister's place just south of Dayton, Ohio very early tomorrow morning (K works until late tonight)...I'm really looking forward to it. So I imagine the next few posts will probably be originating from there if I can still function well enough to write after I gorge myself.

Until then, SAFE TRAVELS Everyone!


  1. I agree, that the holidays can be difficult for addicts, for me its never been about being depressed though but its all just part of my pattern. I have been high every Christmas since 2005 and with the holidays approaching, I have been thinking 'What the hell do I do with myself now?'

  2. I can totally relate to the question: "What the hell do I do with myself now". I got loaded every day...during the last 14 months or so, K-Sue and I were high on Coke and an assortment of prescription drugs along with drink. We'd party for 3 days straight then our bodies would give out and we would collapse...then lay around a day and start the cycle over again. Some one who doubted my story once asked how I could go through $50,000 in a year doing drugs...Thats how! I was buying 1/4's and 1/2's of Coke every other day. Someone would tell me they had a gram and i'd just laugh..."what the hell am I going to do with that?! It's basically a big line!!".

    After my suicide failure , subsequent time in a coma, then a long stay in hospital...I was clean but I was not stable at all...all I knew how to do to entertain myself was do dope and drink. It took a really long time, several years really Ian, before I felt someone OK during family get together's like during the holidays. But I kind of wondered EVERYDAY, what I was going to do with myself.

    Basically what I did even though I initially did not want to was hang out with other people in recovery. I learned a new way of living based on being of service to others. I was so selfish, spoiled and self-oriented...i acted like I cared about other people but only if there was something in it for me. I got over that and eventually something deep inside changed and one day i realized that I had not had a craving for drink or drugs in a very long time.

    I wish there was an easy remedy I could tell you about my friend, but you have to want to be sober more then you want to this very day I often can't believe that I have been completely clean and sober for nearly 6.5 years now and i rarely think about using.

    I've been reading your posts and I like how you have been active, enjoying family and friends. I say do your best to be you and enjoy the season...try to skip being high on Christmas (hey you can always make it up on New Years if you have to!). I jest of course.

    Here in America, tomorrow is a huge Holiday, Thanksgiving Day...everyone has Thurs/Fri off work and basically eats and drinks themselves to death with Roast Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, Pecan and Pumpkin Pie and various spirits. Then we all lay around full fat and satisfied watching Football on the Telly (American Football of course. I am still allowed to eat so this is a Holiday I still very much enjoy!