Ah December. The lights, the music, the joy, the crowds, the craziness!
This is a tough time of year for everyone. It is dark and cold where I live. Everyone seems to have a touch (or a full blown case) of season affect disorder. When you live in the far north it’s not unexpected, but we seem to be surprised by every winter. This is accompanied by much complaining and questioning about why we live in such a godforsaken place….
The spring fever hits and our days are extra long and nice and we can golf until 10 pm and we remember that there is a positive side to living here. And, of course, there’s the excellent employment opportunities.
Last winter was very rough for me. I quit drinking on December 1. For the millionth time. And the last time. But this time was different. I told everyone. Most scoffed, unwilling to believe that I needed to quit completely, or that I would be able to stick with it.
That was fine with me. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Life had really spiraled down to a bleak existence. I was unhappy, obsessive, anxious and confused. Consumed with myself, at the expense of my husband and children. I had still not considered that I was an alcoholic, that I needed recovery or that this was going to be a life long change. I just needed a break from the booze or something bad would happen. And I was truly scared that I might do that bad thing to myself, intentionally or unintentionally. Dying of alcohol poisoning at 42 just seems like a sad way to go.
I spent most of last year’s holiday season at home. I rarely ventured out. I was shaken, fragile and so easily overwhelmed. My coping skills were low. And so I created my safe space and stayed in it.
That was a year ago. I have had so many BIG realizations this year I can’t even begin to detail them. But biggest of all is that I was caught in the claws of addiction last year. I could not see it then. I didn’t really see it until well into this year. But I was. And so, my solution is to eliminate alcohol from my life.
Sometimes I need to look at is as none today. That maybe in some far off romantic retirement home I will have a glass of wine, but not today.
Sometimes I am so comfortable and sure of my life without alcohol that I know deep down I won’t drink again. I don’t need it. It is truly poison and despair in a bottle.
Both are ok thoughts for me. I only have today and I am as satisfied with my life today as I could possibly imagine.
This year hasn’t been easy. My hubby was away dealing with his own issues for 7 weeks in January. When he left I had about 35 days of sobriety. And the responsibility to take care of the kids, the house, etc. Somewhere I found the strength to do it. Because my fear of failure, of spending those weeks in a drunken, selfish haze, was bigger than my fear of sobriety. My children needed me more than I needed the booze. That was my only thought.
Maybe the big challenge was what I needed. Perhaps it helped me realize that I can do hard things. That I am a strong and resilient person. That I am worth the effort. Me. Anne.
I have dealt with severe depression, generalize anxiety, the death of a close family member and a spouse who also got sober with me.
I have gained peace of mind, love and appreciation for myself and my family, a zest for life through yoga and an ability to look forward. The future is full of unimagined possibilities. My plan is to enjoy them moment by moment, as they come.
If this is your first sober Christmas, take it easy. You are doing a hard thing. But your pride in your accomplishment come January might just be the stepping stone you need to true recovery.
My life is amazing. Who knew??!!
Stillness and Peace