Written By: Fiona Stockard

How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

how to stay sober during the holidays

Holidays and I Don’t Mix!

The holidays were always a strange time for me. This was the time of year to be happy, to be content, to spend quality time with the people I love. However, even before active addiction, I was so far from the realm of happiness that “joy” was a foreign word. I loved my family, but had no idea how to show it.

Once I began using, things quickly spun out of control. During the first holiday season of my active addiction, I burned down our Christmas tree! That might sound like a joke, but I promise, it’s depressingly true. Let’s just say that smoking weed around flammable pine needles isn’t a good idea.

A few years into my addiction and everything was a mess. My family wouldn’t let me stay at their house during the holidays (or anytime else, for that matter), or I wouldn’t even be invited.

I was as hopeless an addict as they come. If, by some miracle, I was invited home for Christmas, I’d leave a mess in my wake. I’d come in, take what I wanted, and leave. I’d get drunk off my family’s top shelf booze and create havoc.

The Beginning of the End

The final Christmas of my active addiction was particularly rough. I stole my parents car, crashed it, and got arrested. My poor parents! They had to bail me out of jail, again. I’d sworn to them, only a few months earlier, that they’d never EVER have to bail me out again.

You know when you’re little and someone says they’re disappointed with you? You know how that’s worse than hearing they’re mad at you? Well, that Christmas I got something to the effect of “you ruined the holidays AGAIN. You’re destroying the family and you don’t even care!” Ouch, right? Here I am, the holiday-cheer destroyer, running wild, killing moments of happiness with my addiction.

How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

A few months after that disastrous Christmas, I went to my first treatment center. I got help for my addiction and began to make my way into sobriety. I relapsed, but I’d been introduced to the rooms of recovery, and I had hope.

The past few Christmases have been just a LITTLE bit different. I’m able to be peaceful and happy. I’m surrounded by so many people I love and so many people that love me. I get to be grateful. I knew when I got sober that I wanted to stop drinking and using. What I got, though, was a life beyond my wildest dreams.

So, the million dollar question, how can you stay sober during the holidays? It’s incredibly simple. The best way to stay sober during the holidays is to have recovered from addiction! Simple, right? I promise, it is.

Get a sponsor and work the twelve-steps. Accept you’re an addict and alcoholic. Find out what your character defects are. Clean up the mess you leave in your wake. Continue to seek spiritual growth on a daily basis. If you do those things, you’ll stay sober during the holidays.

If you’re struggling with active addiction, or with that strange time known as the holidays, hang in there! If your family doesn’t welcome you back with open arms, wait for it. These things come in time. These things come after doing some work. The holidays are filled with love and gratitude. Guess what? So is sobriety!

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