“Christmas time, mistletoe and WINE”
Not this year. I managed to avoid drinking last Christmas during my first festive period in recovery and I intend to do it again. It hasn’t been an easy 2022 and along with the current family problems with my poorly daughter (who has spent a lot of time in hospital) I’ve also relapsed in 2022 albeit it was only two days of drinking back in May and I managed to pull myself back out of it.
Sitting in the relative darkness of our living room (the Christmas tree lights provide what we need) I talk to my seven year old daughter on our 10 year old couch for the first time in what feels like forever about how she is and what she foresees her short term future as.
This in itself will raise concerns with many of you reading this. Why is there such a deep conversation unfolding with a child so young? What will be gained from this?
She’s been through so much in the last few months and it has been so scary and confusing for her. It still is. All she really understands is that her brain is poorly and that means she is struggling to do things she used to do like eating, drinking, managing her emotions and not obsessing over basic day to day tasks that we don’t give a second thought to.
I suppose last Christmas was easier. I was still on an upward curve after navigating myself out of issues which nearly wrecked my life. By the time Christmas came around I was loving this new feeling of long term sobriety (albeit white knuckling it) and I finally felt like my marriage and relationship with my little girls was in an honest and happy place. Significantly my oldest daughter didn’t have the health issues either.
I used to love a drink over the Christmas Bank holiday. Wine and Baileys on Xmas Eve with the wife as we wrapped presents. Prosecco on the morning of the big day followed by lager, ale, wine and cava throughout the day. Boxing Day was a ‘lad day’ at the football or pub so you can imagine how messy that got.
Getting sober is easily the best thing I’ve done for myself in my 36 years on this planet. I used alcohol for 17 years and in the main it had a negative impact on me both physically and mentally so I will always shout loudly about how great it is being sober. Christmas as an adult was always about boozing so to return to a kind of pure innocence around this time of year is so enjoyable and fulfilling.
It would be far too easy to use the current family landscape as an excuse to drink and I doubt many people would blame me but I own my sobriety and I need to protect it at all costs. I know first hand the cycle alcohol creates. It’s an enabler for mental health deterioration and irrational decision making and thinking. I can’t and won’t allow myself to return to that king of behaviour especially when my family need me so much.