The holiday season is supposed to be a time filled with love and laughs shared with family and friends. For many people suffering from the disease of addiction, this can be a very stressful and difficult time. This was the case for me.
Having made the decision to stop using drugs and alcohol in late September, I was in the early stages of sobriety during the holiday season. I learned that I didn’t know how to talk or relate to a lot of my family without having a drink to loosen up. I found myself sitting alone, feeling uncomfortable, and watching my family drink as they laughed and talked at ease. Luckily, I had been advised by my community that this could, and likely would happen, and prepared myself by reaching out for support, and utilizing my recovery tools to make it through.
Prior to going to a holiday dinner, I set up a safe place I could go if I started to get uncomfortable. Some recovery groups offer meetings every hour on the hour for a full day on most major holidays. I chose to make this my safe place. Upon returning for dinner I felt better equipped to handle these social interactions, mostly due to the fact that I knew I could remove myself from an uncomfortable situation if needed.
As the celebration continued, I began to go crazy again watching bottle after bottle being consumed, while my family got louder and louder. Again, I walked outside and used another one of the tools that I had learned. I took out my phone and called some sober friends for support. During the first few months of my sobriety, I had become a part of a fellowship of men that loved and supported me. An indescribable bond and connection had been solidified with this group of sober "guys". When I called my friends, they got up during their dinners and answered their phones, all to help me through a difficult time. I had never experienced anything like this before. I felt comfortable with these guys when I didn’t feel comfortable with my own family. After a few phone calls, I decided it was time to leave. I went back inside and said my goodbyes.
When I woke up in the morning I had a new sense of confidence because I was able to make it through that night, and many more to come. I realized that as long as I kept reaching out and utilizing these simple recovery tools, I would be able to make it through anything.