Christmas Survival Guide For A Recovering Alcohol
December 4, 2018Alcohol
Christmas parties are very special. We relax. We enjoy ourselves. We make friends with colleagues we hardly know. I do all of that even though I haven’t drunk alcohol since 12th October 1984.
I get heavily stuck into fizzy water. This has a number of very clear advantages. I do remember what I was doing, I don’t have a sore head and I don’t have to apologise to anyone. But, more significantly, I enjoy myself much more than I did in the old days when my reduced inhibitions caused mayhem.
I don’t drink at this time of year, or any other, because I’m not a very good drinker. I drink alcoholically. Once I start I don’t know when – or how – to stop. The drink takes me over.
The festive season is much less dangerous for me nowadays than it used to be. Today all I have to watch out for is the drunken or drugged behaviour of other people. And I have a clear head that enables me to make careful judgement.
I enjoy conversations where I’m not slurring my words or repeating myself. Nobody frowns at me or walks away.
I feel free of the need to make escape plans because there’s nothing I want to escape from. I enjoy being in sociable company until such time as other people, through their alcohol or drug consumption, become unsociable. Then I go home and read a book or play my electronic keyboard (with my headphones on so I don’t disturb anyone else).
Previously, after a splendid party, I might not remember how I got home. And I certainly wouldn’t be capable of reading a book or playing a piano. And I might disturb the neighbours by singing The Hallelujah Chorus or Eskimo Nell at the top of my voice.
I stopped drinking because I wasn’t very good at it. Previously I thought I was a bad man but a good drinker. Now I recognise that I’m capable of being a good man but I’ll always be a bad drinker. So I don’t start.
I spend my time doing things I’m good at. Nowadays I’m a responsible husband and an entertaining companion. I thought I was always that… well… most of the time. But the reality was a far cry from my recollection. In the old days, when I was told by my wife and other people that my behaviour had not been my best, I wondered what they were talking about. Today there is no confusion.
I anticipate having a sober Christmas this year because I’ve had one every year for the last 34 years. I remember them clearly. They’ve been a lot of fun. Nowadays the holiday season usually sees my wife and me in a quiet hotel on a pleasant island, enjoying ourselves in our own special ways, hiking, going to restaurants, listening to music or doing puzzles. We work hard enough during the rest of the year. This is how we relax.
Other people may find this form of relaxation to be a very strange description of an enjoyable holiday. I can assure them that if I were to drink again, I very soon wouldn’t have a wife and I wouldn’t be able to do the happy and rewarding things I do now.
People in continuing recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction tend to have very similar strategies for getting through the Christmas and New Year holiday season.
We spend some special time meeting each other – just to say how grateful we are to be in each other’s company rather than in a hospital or drunk tank or police cell or asleep in the street. I myself have been very fortunate. I’ve never had any of those experiences. This makes me even more grateful to be with those who are alcoholics or addicts like me. I got off the crazy merry-go-round before I fell under it.
If other people find they need a strategy to keep them on the straight and narrow, they might find it beneficial to join my friends and me now, rather than wake up in a few years’ time when they’ve caused themselves – and possibly other people – a lot of damage.
Happy Christmas everybody!