Although I successfully managed to avoid interactions with my parents throughout the year, holiday celebrations and particularly Christmas is a time of family get-togethers. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been sober and yet I still feel that Christmas is an emotionally challenging time for me.
People around me drink in order to feel more relaxed or because they simply enjoy my mother’s famous brandy eggnog recipe. Alcohol can also act like a social connector, a facet that can be easily observed when my uncle on my motherís side and his new wife show up at my aunt’s place.
Temptation is lurking at every corner
Alcohol is readily available and socially acceptable at the Christmas table. Anyone undergoing an alcohol addiction treatment can testify that the holidays can be very tricky physically and emotionally, since you must refrain from something everyone else around you is doing.
Despite the fact that I took some extra precautions, at some point I found myself holding a glass of eggnog in my hand. I was so caught up in the conversation with my aunt that I took the glass set in front of me without realizing it. My aunt didn’t know about my drinking problem, my parents never told her.
I realized from the way my wife and parents were looking at me that I was about to take a sip. I was surprised and shocked at the same time. I put the glass down and excused myself from the table. I had to go take a breath of fresh air to clear my head. I was feeling so ashamed and embarrassed that I even thought of driving away without saying a word.
As feelings of deep loneliness and isolation were taking over, my mother came out and apologized for being too embarrassed to tell her sister about my drinking problem. She was truly sorry and I knew this incident wasn’t really her fault.
Adhere to your self-imposed boundaries
I started reflecting on the past years and couldn’t believe that I had allowed my drinking problem to get to the point where I can’t even have a glass of eggnog. That is when all my past erroneous decisions caught up with me. I have to accept the fact that ever since I said goodbye to Jack, we went our separate ways and there’s no turning back.
Now that I’m at home and had some time to think about what happened, I can say that I’m proud of myself for avoiding a relapse during the holidays.
Not every recovering alcoholic is fortunate enough to have a supporting family to help him in these stressful situations. If your family get-togethers are filled with tension and you still manage to stay clean and sober, then you are indeed a strong person.
Then again, if you didn’t succeed in staying away from alcohol and relapsed during the holidays, it doesn’t automatically mean you failed. Actually, it entails that you need to find the strength to make some changes and set consistent limits that you can adhere to.
You can learn all sorts of coping strategies by attending therapy or participating in mutual support groups. In case you don’t feel ready to attend a big family reunion during the next holidays, then perhaps you’d be better off spending time with the people you truly enjoy being around.