The holidays for addicts and alcoholics are usually a time of stress. On one hand, there are the inner expectations that we carry; and on the other, we have all the memories of times we have been the cause of those expectations not being met.
Our Orange County drug rehab has heard it all: nodding out into the mashed potatoes, getting in a fight with Uncle Frank, stumbling into the table and toppling the whole meal onto the floor—you name it. Yet all we ever wanted for the holidays was for things to work out, people to get along, and things just to go smoothly. Little did we know that our behavior was often the reason that wasn’t possible.
But things change. We no longer have to live like that today. We can mend the fences that we bulldozed over the years and start relationships anew. We make amends, and part of that amends process is the living amends that we make by not going back into our old behaviors and attitudes.
With the tools we get and people we meet in recovery, another funny thing happens. Slowly, it starts becoming less about us and what we get out of these gatherings, and more about what we can bring to the table. We become welcomes guests rather than obligatory ones.
That’s not to say that the holidays for addicts and alcoholics always run smoothly. Let’s face it: many of us have really made some bad impressions around this time of year, and it isn’t surprising when our loved ones aren’t as quick to forgive and forget as we would like. Again, though, the living amends we get to make almost always allows us to heal those old wounds that we inflicted.
At the same time, though, we learn that we are not responsible for how others feel and if their expectations are not met. Holidays for addicts and alcoholics may have historically been negative for our friends and families, but so long as we don’t add more kindling to the fire, the rest of it is in God’s Hands. We suit up, we show up, and we take the next indicated action.
Holidays for Addicts: The Final Word
At the end of the day, holidays for addicts and alcoholics are just like any other day we get to stay clean and sober: a reprieve based on our relationship with our Higher Power. No one is guaranteed sobriety or cleantime, nor is anyone guaranteed tomorrow. Today, though, we are the fortunate few. So relax, take what you like, and leave the bad stuff behind. People often miss the silver lining when they are looking for gold.