Staying sober during the holidays is hard. I was never sober during the holidays until I was in recovery. I spent a Thanksgiving in jail. I will never forget that experience. I remember sitting in the pod, thinking how much I took my family for granted. The food was terrible, and I was in terrible company. I wished I was anywhere else but there. I remember also spending Christmas Eve on the side of the road. I was going through a breakup, and I had nowhere to go. The guilt of addiction and what I had been doing caused apprehension to reach out to my family. I thought staying on the side of the road was better than going home and confronting my shame head on. A friend picked me up that night, and I was able to sleep inside and wake up for Christmas in an actual bed. It still was not enough. I was empty and numb. I truly thought I was going to live every holiday in the isolation of my disease.
Fast forward to recovery, and my life is the exact opposite. Today I spend time with those who mean the most to me. I am grateful for my family and the love they have always shown me. They never gave up on me even when I gave up on myself. I usually go to more meetings during the holidays. Staying connected to my program and using the tools I have learned helps keep me grounded. Seeing the newcomer at a meeting during the holidays keeps me in a state of humility. Even though I have been in recovery for some years now, I appreciate that reminder that it could be worse than it is.
Being of service during this time of the year is the most important part of my holidays now. Getting outside of myself to help someone else who is struggling is the foundation of my entire program. I used to not care about anyone but myself. Through working the steps, and connecting with my higher power, I can be selfless. This is how I stay sober and remain grateful during the holidays.