Happy Thanksgiving friends! So I wanted to repost this piece from a year ago. I still believe in the sentiment, but another year in sobriety & I am a tad more confident in myself & more self aware. If anyone questions why I don’t drink I simply say I’m a recovering alcoholic and leave it at that….usually I get uncomfortable silence(not on my part) or a ‘wow, congratulations’….
I guess what I am trying to get across is that it’s all about respect. Something our society desperately needs these days. I, myself am very comfortable talking about recovery and sobriety, but not everyone is like me, thank goodness:). Just be respectful….that goes for me too… A grateful alcoholic….
Let me begin this post by saying that I am blessed and so very grateful for my friends and family who have supported and believed in me always, even during the dark times when I did not believe in myself.
My thoughts for writing this is because the holiday season kicks off later this week, which means lots of reuniting with friends and family, eating, and drinking. For those of us in recovery, we want to participate in activities with our friends and family and not feel ostracized. More on that in a moment.
So, I have been giving this topic some serious thought the last couple of weeks and comprised a short list of helpful hints for surviving the holidays for those in recovery and their loved ones.
1. “So are you still doing the not drinking thing?”. Asking this seemingly harmless question evokes some serious frustration. I have been asked this on more than one occasion. I just chuckle and usually reply with some sort of smart ass reply (passive aggressive, I know). It wasn’t a fad nor did I give up drinking for lent. It’s my way of living :D.
2. “You know, its all about will power”. Ummmm….no its not. If this was the case, thousands of addicts would be in recovery and not dying or living in despair. I cannot speak for all recovering addicts, but I did not wake up one morning and say …hmmm, seems like a good day to be an alcoholic and destroy my life…
It’s a chronic disease! Just like diabetes and heart disease. I am an alcoholic and I always will be. There is no cure. I work everyday to stay sober.
3. “No seriously, though how are you really??”. (Asked repeatedly). I understand and appreciate peoples’ concern , especially if I don’t see them often. I know for many loved ones of addicts, the ‘wool was pulled over their eyes’ for years. It may be difficult for them to know what to believe. Asking once is fine, just leave it at that.
4. Acting awkwardly or not knowing what to say . I can only speak for myself, but be your self! I am me, a better version of myself, but me. That means I still love to have fun, laugh, be sarcastic, and inappropriate (at times;). I enjoy social gatherings whether it be at someone’s home or venue. I know when I have to excuse myself and hit the road. I am comfortable being around those drinking. I always have my club soda or diet coke in hand. Reality is, drinking is a big part of social events, especially during the holidays. I’m OK with that, if I’m not, then I will excuse myself.
5. Respect the space. Often, once a fun holiday party gets going, noise levels gets higher, everyone loves everyone else, personal space is non existent. I get it, I did it for years. That being said, if I leave early, or sit quietly in another room, please give me my space and don’t be offended. We’ve all been the ‘sober one’, the frivolity can be a little over whelming at times.
6. I want to be at events and I want to have fun, treat me like any other guest.
My tips are meant as a guideline. I have experienced them all. While I do understand the why and that ‘they mean well’, a little sensitivity and awareness makes a difference.
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for so much and truly humbled by all that I have experienced this year.