Holiday Cheer Without the Cheers

The holiday season is upon us once again, and with it comes a mix of emotions. For many it is a time of great joy and celebration— families travel far and wide to celebrate together, co-workers join together for office parties, friends come together for a little “bubbly”. At the center of most of these celebrations is alcohol, for after all it is a time to “let your hair down” , loosen-up, relax.

For others the holiday season is palpably anxiety-ridden, frightening. How well I remember my first Christmas after I got sober. How nervous was I to attend any party, even a family gathering. It was December, 1997. I had been sober for eight months. Memories of that first sip of champagne, the feeling it gave me as it ran through my veins, came over me.  Oh how I loved the way champagne made me feel, at least the first couple of glasses—confident, giddy, seemingly happy. But that first sip turned into another and another…and one day I landed in rehab. So that first holiday season of sobriety was frightful! But I was determined not to take a drink. I avoided parties, lunches where friends would have a glass of wine, etc., etc. I made commitments to myself I continue to adhere to. Over time celebrations became easier and easier to attend. But I will always remain vigilant—I could relapse at any moment, just as anyone else can.

The holidays today are more joyful than ever!  I have my family, my friends, my life! God’s grace is so good. If you are as frightened as I was that first holiday remember you are not alone, remember you CAN do it, one day at a time!

A very joyful , sober holiday to all!