Next year all our troubles will be out of sight. LIES.

I’m here to give you some gd perspective this holiday season. A pep talk for the holidays. It may not seem like it at first, but stick with me.

As I was eating half a bag of starburst last night for dinner, wondering but really knowing that there is no whole foods healthy version of this so screw it, I felt my husband’s presence on the other couch as we burned through the ending of Scream Queens and thought, this is everything good. Safe.  For the moment.  Yellow is my favorite. Come at me. Sugar and caffeine don’t have any effect on me. Addict perk. Black coffee, booze and cigarettes are my dream diet. Only now I do black coffee and sugar. It quells the beast that still lives inside me. And it is good.

Here’s what I know. When you’ve fallen off a train, sloppy drunk, going to your parents house for a holiday and hidden bottles of booze all over the house just to get through a couple days, anything looks better than that. When you’ve had the looks, the teary eyed, desperation looking you straight in the face of the people that love you the most and would do anything for you and yet you lie and lie again just to make it through, you know this is better. You just need to remember what it was like and what it’s like now. You remember what it was like to have nothing and no one who trusted you or wanted you around and you look around at all the people and all the love and you remember what it feels like to be an alcoholic and know that although you still are one, a sober drunk is so much more manageable than a using drunk.

The darkness is where I feel most comfortable. The dark corners of my still alcoholic brain want me to live there. But I fight every day to get out. It’s a struggle some days more than others. I fake it til I make it a lot. Because WE HAVE TO. The alternative is shutting off the lights entirely and I’m not doing that anymore. That choice is made. I scratch and crawl my way to the light. Even when I hate it.

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That song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, from Meet Me in St. Louis, about how next year they would be moved to New York and they wouldn’t be sad about it anymore even when they all absolutely don’t want to go? LIES. They are faking it til they make it. They are putting on a good show for each other.  Our troubles will still be there next year, albeit most likely different problems, but make no mistake, they will be there.  But we can get through it.

That’s a lot of what the holidays are about. Faking it til we make it. Just like recovery in general, but it’s this gd season, man. It’s amped up to like a million and we are expected to be cool with it all?

Everybody I know is in pain. We mask it, but it’s still there. I look at people I love and I burst out in tears. The holidays are this dark, weird, not entirely true fairy tale time where, even if our lives are joyful and we have gratitude abounding, it’s still awful.

The rampant racism, people who need the simplest things to be safe, people dying every day of addiction and suicide, the guns and the unnecessary slaughters, man.  The hurt. The pain. The wanting more. It’s still going to be here next year. No amount of prayer or wishful thinking is going to change that.

But we must hope. We must believe in ourselves and each other. We must carry the load when others can’t. We are all responsible.

When you look at someone who seemingly has their shit together this holiday, just remember, it’s not always what it seems. Everyone is in recovery from something, or hopefully trying to be. This feeling all the feelings stuff is amplified even when we do our best to avoid it.

The commercials make me feel less than, the cards and little gifts that people are so good at remembering but I stink at make me feel unworthy. Having a house and all our needs met but no extra money for gifts makes me feel lousy. But you know what? I re-program those messages every day. HERE WE GO. Those commercials that make me feel like I’m not doing nearly enough? My kids baked and gave gifts and know all about kindness and are learning empathy. I’d say I’m doing just fine. I am enough for these kids and my family. And so are you.

Kindness and compassion are the best gifts I can give to society and I do my best to get out there and do it every day. And pass it on to my kids.  Faith without action is dead. I still have faith in people. As awful as the world is, I still have hope.

Just know I’m here holding your hand and we are absolutely going to get through this. We can laugh about the absurdity of it all and know that we are going to be ok.

DO NOT KILL YOURSELF.  It needs to be said.

Somebody needs you. They need us to be joyful. To be merry. To be bright. To be the sparkle in their holiday. We all need some gd magic. You are their person.

Find the gratitude.  Look around you.  I guarantee you can find something. Look for it.  Dig deep.  Gratitude is the key.  It’s what keeps us going on the darkest days in our heads.  Are there way worse problems out there than what’s going on in our heads?  YES OF COURSE. But you know that people who end it all didn’t think so, so I maintain this is pretty gd important. I got you.

Go in the bathroom and cry me a river. I cry all the gd time. Even the darkest feelings, what a gift to be able to feel today.  Vulnerability.  It is really good.

When you are feeling it and crying in the garage, know somewhere in Chicago there is some blonde lady crying in her closet and holding you close. But know she’s going to come out and be okay. And so are you. They don’t need to see mama crying all the time. Especially right now. Sometimes is ok though. We all need to see each other vulnerable or else HOW DO WE LEARN THAT IT IS OK?

Call someone. Get to a meeting. Take a walk. Go get a coffee. DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. Then GET IT TOGETHER LADY. They don’t need to see that every time they say something profoundly cute or compassionate. They don’t need those flashbacks. Come on. Be cool. Oh, and, I love you.

See also:

How to stay happy joyous and free during the holidays

On days when sobriety is really hard

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