Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Recovering Christmas

Christmas in long-term recovery: It changes every year. It involves negotiation and discernment. While some of the holiday habits are always black and white (alcohol) some are grey (food) and some are passionately colorful (relationships).

Holidays have changed so much over these recovering years. From white-knuckled not drinking, to staying away from places and people who drank, to staying away from all family—two years of not speaking to my family of origin while I did the heavy lifting work in Alanon. Then backing into the grey—seeing folks, learning not to lecture (and torture) them, bringing my own beverages and for some years even my own food.

The years of crying when my family sent gifts of alcohol and candy ignoring my abstinence and sobriety, and then years of just crying because I was watching them die—and not me. And then more years of laughing, sighing and just accepting.


Relationships on and off and on again. Marriage and divorce through the holidays. More addictions uncovered, dreaded, accepted, recovered. Crying over all that and then, much later, laughing too.

Now it’s clear that I don’t drink. Guests are welcome to bring their own alcohol if they take it when they leave. It’s not a temptation.
Food is different. It’s less an issue of back and white but always a consciousness. It’s about awareness and honesty: What am I eating—and why? Am I hungry or is there something or someone I don’t want to deal with? And what is in my house: no alcohol but I no longer demand that other people change their lives for my food plan.

Holidays are much like other days: lots of prayer and an ongoing program. A wonderful sponsor, a recovering family of choice, a spiritual director, sober friends, Alanon friends, OA friends, wise friends who’ve never had any addictions. And lots of gratitude. And now, years later I can let holidays be special too observing traditions and taking breaks.

Now celebrating the New Year doesn’t require big promises and lists of Do’s and Don’ts. The only resolution is keeping my recovery first. Long-term recovery: It’s a wonderful life.

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