The holidays can be a challenging time, for even the healthiest of families. Images of Norman Rockwell’s Christmas lead us to believe that the holidays should be the perfect picture of love and togetherness. And, while that may be true for some folks, it’s certainly not true for mine.
Memories of my father drinking way too much brandy and eggnog and blasting holiday music, my Mother, wrapping presents at the last minute on Christmas and even wrapping her own presents from my Father (that she had purchased for herself) created a chaos that I didn’t yet have words for. It would be years later that I learned it was alcoholism and codependence.
And then I became the alcoholic. Or, I would switch roles occasionally and was the dry drunk and a controlling codependent, attempting to recreate a perfect holiday experience that never existed. Either way, I could not bear to feel my feelings and be in the present moment, and I drove everyone crazy.
Now that I am in recovery I am just beginning to mend relationships with family and friends after years of active addiction and alcoholism. I am learning to practice “Easy Does It”.
Now that we are clean and sober, we may not know how to reconnect in a way that is healthy for all involved.
If we are in early recovery, it may be too slippery to visit family and friends where alcohol or drugs may be present. We may opt to spend time with our sponsor and sober friends and attend AA meetings that provide meals, support, and a safe haven. Perhaps we might have family and friends visit us at our sober living home for a short visit to exchange cards and gifts.
We have many choices and options now that we are clean and sober. And, we have every right to protect our sobriety, emotional/mental stability, and peace of mind. As I continue on my journey of recovery, I know that for myself, it is important for me to set up plans in advance so I don’t set myself up for self-pity, being a victim, chaos, loneliness, or even worse, a relapse.
Reach out to your new friends and family and ask for support. Create your own get-togethers, send holiday cards to those you love and care for, create a new holiday recipe, write a gratitude list, and share at meetings.
You are clean and sober and this is the greatest holiday gift you will ever receive. Each day is a new beginning full of possibilities!
If you need a family for the holidays, A Work in Progress is here to love, support, and cherish you in your recovery. To learn more, please call us at (818) 633-1719 or fill out the contact form on this page and someone with get back to you promptly.
Happy Holidays from all of us at A Work in Progress!