Each year I try to figure out how to enjoy Christmas in recovery without reverting back to my old ways. What I've come to realize is that I enjoy them by making sure I don't end up face down in a snow bank smelling like booze.
Looking back, the holidays used to represent a "party", and at first they always were a good time. Years later, I would spend weeks trying to figure out how I was going to avoid the "party" because I didn't want any of my family members or close friends analyzing me. I felt like they were trying to figure out if I was out of my mind or when I was going to start getting blindly drunk and start accusing everyone of conspiring against me. Needless to say, I don't act like that anymore, but I can still find ways ruin the party.
Today, I try to enjoy holidays around family despite whatever is going on inside. On Christmas eve I still get roaring anxiety knowing I have to be around people that still haven't forgiven me for throwing the Christmas tree out the door and into the front yard in 1998. I guess they're still traumatized. Truth is, even though I've done a complete 180 (for the most part) and generally don't behave like that anymore, people are still leery of me. I guess I can't blame them.
Knowing my own uncomfortable feelings about my outrageous behaviour in the past, and having to deal with looking in the face of others that know exactly how I've behaved, it's no wonder as to why I don't really like this time of year. It's a harsh reminder of what I was, and what I could be if I don't put recovery first in my life.
Here's a list of 6 things I've compiled to avoid unnecessary anxiety and bad situations that present themselves this time of year:
These are by no means is the way I live my life on a regular basis. Normally I have no problem being around family or people that are enjoying themselves. Just because I stopped consuming substances (JFT) doesn't mean everyone else has to stop too. I am the one with the problem, and I have to use good judgement to make sure I don't return to that place I would have done anything to get out of. In order to not return and stay in the darkness I once lived, I have to take a militaristic approach (especially on Christmas) to make sure I don't end up there again.