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Holiday Tips - A Change of Heart

Dealing with the Holidays


Updated February 08, 2014

Visitors to the About.com Alcoholism Forum were asked to share their personal experiences in maintaining sobriety during the holiday season. Their replies provide helpful tips for those who may be struggling to stay clean and sober through the temptations of the holidays.

Carolyn's Holiday Tip

My first day of sobriety was early in May, so I had the chance to get a taste of serenity before the holiday season. I heard people talk about the difficulty of getting through the holidays without a drink; how this was really the "party" time of year and the focus of so many alcohol centered activities.

I thought that was such a shame. I don't recall my alcohol consumption ever declining in the months that followed the New Year's Eve bash. I was the kind of alcoholic that celebrated Tuesday in the same fashion as I'd celebrate the coming of Christmas. The holiday season seemed a poor excuse to drink any differently.

Loneliness Swept Away

It was, though, a time of emotional anxiety. Before I got sober, The Season-of-Family-Joy was just another reminder that I had no family and not even the notion of joy. After joining AA, that feeling of aloneness was swept away. I had begun to feel a part of the fellowship of AA; I began developing a new and more loving relationship with my own family, and I stopped taking my "poor, pathetic" self so seriously.

One of the most lovely moments occurred a few years ago at a friend's house at Christmas. My friend's brother was visiting from out of state and we were all enraptured with love and holiday and friendship and each other. Barry had brought an expensive and (as I remember from many years before) most excellent wine for the after dinner toast. Jan ran around getting glasses and preparing for the toast, and I went outside to sulk; hating the fact that I was an alcoholic and couldn't participate.

It's Not What's in the Glass

Barry, who didn't know I was recovering from alcoholism, found me and told me it was time for the toast. I, in the dark, through tear of self-pity, told him to go in without me; I don't toast very well. He said, "This is family and friends were celebrating. We need you inside."

He handed me a wine glass filled with cranberry juice. "It's not what's in the glass that's important, it's what's in your heart."

-- Carolyn

More Holiday Tips

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