Another Christmas come and gone. It was the first Christmas I truly enjoyed since I was a child. Even last year, my first sober Christmas was marked with a kind of uneasiness. Like I was expecting the "other shoe" to drop at any moment. I was also scared that I wouldn't be able to cope with the stress of the season without a little help. This year was definately different.
Perhaps it's because I just let go. Let go of all the preconceived notions of what I thought the holidays were suppose to be like. I used to be so hard on myself. I had to have the perfect decorations, the perfect cards, the gifts everyone wanted, the perfect tree. I no longer feel this way. The picture cards of the kids turned out great, I put up an artificial tree, I wrapped a few presents with my daughter on Christmas Eve, and I released a much needed pressure valve.
What is it about alcoholics and perfection? Do we set our standards so high, that it's impossible to reach them? Because when failure comes we almost wallow in it. It always gave me an excuse to drink. OMG, this holiday stuff is too stressful, where's the Vodka? I just know something is going to go wrong! Or do we just love drama, and if there isn't drama we can surely create it. Or did I just finally grow up and realize that all of the stuff that I thought made up Christmas really didn't. In fact it has very little to do with the holiday. This was made ever so clear to me Christmas Eve night.
The two youngest were fast asleep, my hubby and oldest were watching TV, and I went out to attend the 9;30 pm candle light meeting at the Alano club. Our club is an old church, and when I got there the table was set up in a big square,and soft Christmas lights twinkled. The air had an aroma of chocolate and coffee, and the spirit of fellowship was everywhere. I sat next to my sponsor who was chairing this meeting, and as you spoke, you lit your candle. It was a gratitude meeting, and the gratitude poured fourth.
So many people who had spent a Christmas or two in jail. Others whose families had outed them. One young man had spent last year locked in his apartment with a bottle of booze, and two vials of pills, determined it would be the last holiday he would spend alone. His face glowed with a year of sobriety. He was happy to be in that room. Another member talked about dealing with his aging parents whose alzheimer's was so difficult to accept. How the steps of AA where making it possible for him to survive.
It was during this meeting, as I looked at the happy and grateful people around me that the true meaning of the season became quite clear. It's not the wrappings, the cost, the time. It's giving yourself the best gift you can give. Trust to a higher power, trust in your fellow man, and trust in yourself. This gift of sobriety can't be measured in money, or time, or effort. It's priceless, because it gives you the life you deserve. It gives you serenity.
The peace I felt this year was like no other. The train had stopped roaring down the tracks. I felt quiet, I felt peace. I wanted to ingrain in my brain the glowing faces of all my fellow AA's in that room. Miracles really do happen, and angels really do walk among us. My step felt light as I walked down the snowy sidewalk, and the church bells chimed midnight. Christmas was here, and I had just witnessed the best gift of all! Peace......