Making it through the holidays without drinking was never an option for me – so, my first Christmas sober, was like speaking French in France with very little training or practice. I was not fluent in sobriety — I only knew a few phrases, and slogans; they were literally my constant interpreters of everything that was going on!
- Don’t drink
- Say your Prayers, and
- Get to a meeting!
- Call your sponsor.
- Think the drink through
- This too shall pass
- Nothing is so bad, a drink won’t make it worse
And following their advice got me through times when having a drink drinking was all I wanted to do.
The Christmas holidays could generate tension and manufacture excuses to drink anesthetize myself. (But then, so was every day in the week, an excuse to drink, if I am being honest. 😉 ) Recovery also was a time of tension — I saw people in the program go-out. Underneath each day was the real, gut-wrenching fear I would drink – that God and the program would not be enough to avoid picking up.
However, sticking close to my sponsors and their friends, going to meetings and listening worked. So, at the end of each day I did not drink, I realized my fluency in sobriety was becoming a way of living – not perfectly; perfection is not the goal, progress is.
The crazy wonderful thing is that with those slogans, believing that by God’s grace, they would work, if I did what they suggested, I did not drink. That first Christmas holiday was a time when I started being comfortable with the idea that sobriety might be not just possible, but preferable to my former ways.
I couldn’t see it so clearly going through it, but that Christmas was a season of unexpected blessings that overshadowed the trials. As the old year receded, my hope grew.
- I was embarking on a new way of living.
- I was more open with my husband about what I could handle and could not.
- I invited friends from the program over for meals, and found AAs are good conversationalists and appreciative guests.
Slowly, oh so slowly, it dawned on me that God had given me a better way of living with compassionate companions, especially His Spirit.
If you are an old-timer, what was your first Holiday like? What suggestions would you offer a newbie?
If you are new – welcome to one of the best gifts you can work to enjoy: sobriety.
Love in Christ,
Sober and Grateful