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
27 thoughts on “December Thoughts”
Its always inspiring to hear your words. This will be my first sober Chirstmas and I can only hope I find the happiness in a year that you so clearly have!!
Great post Anne. I would like to try yoga in 2015 to add to my recovery toolbox as you speak so highly of it 🙂 xx
Definitely try it!
I am so happy for you, Anne. Your peace, and grace, is truly felt through your words. Congratulations!!
Peace is something I didn’t expect to find, but that I cherish every day.
Happy One Year Anne. We are so close in time. Last years holiday’s were really hard, like I had bugs crawling under my skin hard. I guess that was the withdrawal.
You sound like you are in a super good place. I am so happy for you, and I always look forward to your wise comments on my craziness.
You are an inspiration to me.
We will go the same way through 2015, one day at a time.
Every blogger inspires me. People willing to tell their truth is a special thing.
I do feel like I am in a good place. I try to protect myself a lot still. I would rather things be simple and pleasant than complicated, overwhelming and hard.
It’s feels good to let things happen, instead of trying to control the world!
Merry Christmas, Anne. And Happy ‘Nother Year!! I felt inspired by your post. Am only going on four months (12/21) and, while this season isn’t any more challenging than the last 100+ days have been, I’ve hit a serious slump in my hopefulness. Your post was like having someone much farther along the road turn around and wave. Thank you for that. You made my “now” a little brighter. Peace to you. PP
Thank you so much for saying that! That is exactly what I hope for. To give a little bit of light or hope to others trying to figure this out.
Take care of yourself! Have a great Christmas!
Love this post Anne! As you know, it is my first sober Christmas and i find this post so very inspiring!
Thanks anne. This was truly inspirational! Hoping the first Christmas is a success. Day by day.
Hey Anne! Amazing story, thank you for sharing. Very inspiring to stay on the path. Thanks for this today. Xo
Such an honest and truly inspiring post! Thank you! Congratulations on all that you have accomplished and thank you for helping so many of us with your insights and sharing.
Congrats, on your year, plus! Enjoy this sober, holiday 😀
Hey Anne well done on over a year sober! I really wanted thank you so much for being here for so many of us. Like Lucy, yesterday i found myself thinking, yoga, I must try and find my stillness.
Peace and light you strong lady. So much peace and light.
Dark here too at the moment, its my first xmas sober. I’ve taken on advice from many of you to just step back a bit. For me its a visiting friend and a few days off work. A lovely bit of meals but nothing too over the top. I’m going to avoid overwhelm, keep it simple and although the house will be busy, I’m keeping a quiet space for myself to retreat to as necessary.
Thank you Anne, so very much. Who knows, I might sound as calm as you next year.
Congrats on one year. Your post is very inspiring. I was sober at Christmas last year, and had a relapse a few months later. This year is different; a new peace has settled over me, and yes, yoga is involved—highly recommended! xx
Yoga is powerful. Take care!
I think sometimes it is the post holiday letdown that is hard to handle. I will be aware of that this year!
Sound advice here. It sounds like you had a lot of challenges in your first year sober. Your wisdom and strength are very inspiring (and I love reading the comments you leave on other blogs). Happy one year to you and hope the rest of your holiday season is bright and peaceful!
“Fear of failure is worse than fear of sobriety.” I’ve heard that Type-A perfectionist folks are at risk for alcohol dependence, but this sounds like one of those times when perfectionism and drive comes in handy. Great work!
I love your post, thank you 🙂 and thankyou for the warning about post christmas letdown, it definitely helps to be aware of these things beforehand!
This will be my first sober Christmas. Right now I’m only on day four but I’m really determined to do it!! Reading this post is empowering thank you for sharing!!
I hope you are doing well. Take care!
Very inspiring post and you seem to be in a very grounded place….wishing you peace and light in this holiday season and beyond!
What a wonderful post Anne! Love you and wishing you every good thing this season XOX
Thank you! Merry Christmas!
I am SO glad I just read this. It’s my first sober Christmas. I’m on my 12th day. I cannot possibly think about quitting forever. Just today. And today I won’t drink. And I must say life is so much better and I’m a better wife and mother already! That’s what keeps me going.
Everything becomes easier. Just for today!