Can Christmas be a Frame of Mind?

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at

Early in my recovery the very mention of Christmas was a trigger. I got sober in March. How in the heck was I going to make until Christmas without a drink? Even if I made it to Christmas surely I would not survive the holidays without a libation secured to my hand. After all, everyone drank at Christmastime, even the non-drinkers. This, for me, meant my drinking would not be under anyone’s radar. Holiday gatherings took pressure off my daily drinking. Seems I had a legitimate excuse—the problem arose after the holidays when I couldn’t stop drinking like it was the holidays.

My first sober Christmas is a blur. I’m sure pictures would revive the memory. What isn’t a blur is my wish: To remain sober through Christmas day. For me, that year, the best gift I received was waking up sober on the 26th of December. I will never forget the pure elation in knowing, truly knowing, that sobriety was possible—a moment of accomplishment.

If you had asked me in March what I would be feeling on December 26th of that year I could never have described, with accuracy, the freedom I felt upon waking that morning. It was a tough season, too! There were many temptations and many memories of “funnier” times. Everything sober for the first time and me without a glass in my hand to keep me “together and functioning.” Truly a holiday miracle.

What was so special about that holiday season? For me, Christmas has spiritual meaning. In spite of all the Santa hoopla, I had a clear and unwavering understanding of the birth of Christ. This was the day Christians chose to celebrate his birth. For me it felt like my birth too. I had been vigilant with my sober program. I can say truly that in my whole life I had never worked so hard to get to know anything or anyone as I pursued getting to know me. And when I found me I found that God was in me. Not only was he in me, but he had always been there and had always loved me.

As Christmas drew closer, I drew closer to God. After all, I had a Christmas wish I wanted to come true. He had helped me so far. I saw no reason he wouldn’t stay with me now. Then I had an epiphany: If he is never not with me then the reason for my discomfort must be of my own making. If I leave the certainty of Love I experience pain and fear. If I do not leave—I do not experience the separation. I have freewill. I have a choice.

I have a choice what voice I will listen to. I do not have to let my thinking take me down. I do not have to take a drink. Can I? Yes. But do I choose to? No.

Not out of obligation, but out of love. I love myself because it feels good to love myself. It feels good to pray. It feels good to be silent. It feels good to be caring. It feels good to be giving. It feels good to awaken to a world where I make a difference. I make a difference in the quality of someone else’s life. I do, you do, we ALL do.

We can all birth a new love for who we are. We can all welcome a renewed love for humanity. We can all embrace the spirit of Christmas whether or not Christian because we are choosing to awaken the love that lies within all of us—the birth of the Christ within.

The question becomes: Will I? It’s a choice.

This Christmas season, I chose to experience a Christmas frame of mind long before the 25th arrives. For me being giving one day in December won’t cut it if I am to remain sober.

My life is built around choosing Love.

No Responses to “Can Christmas be a Frame of Mind?

  • You have summed it up in a nutshell, your so right when you say it is all about choice, we have the choice to do the things we do, or the choice to refrain from things, however in some cases, the choice to take what we see to be the easy road, or the easy way out of situations, that make us feel unwanted, or non required emotions such as those major hall mark holidays (as I call them), by using anything to numb or dull that feeling, that empty, lost or isolated feeling we get, is often a choice that we think will be the easy way, finding out later, that we were wrong about that particular road, as we start the process of recovery again.
    Life is not an easy thing to live, although we assume that it will be, things turn to shit without us realizing, and often we blame ourselves as we desperately search for a way to stop feeling so down, so alone, so simply shit. Christmas, well this over rated hall mark time of the year is not easy for anyone, regardless of how festive people may seem,
    Choice = action leading to our end result being that of the consequences our actions we choose have led us to.
    No matter what it is we choose to do, that choice always has a flow on effect, that flow on effect will and does affect others in our lives, as we forget this simple truth, often saying ‘f**k it, I have had enough’ giving ourselves some form of justification for the choices we know in our hearts are going to lead to that inevitable consequence, and ultimatly we are left feeling that shitty feeling of guilt, coupled with regret.

    • Angel, The one thing FOR ME is that I have to continue to grow inside if I want to remain sober. My heart goes out to people who have relapsed… will relapse… this holiday season. No matter where I am in life, all I can do is get up, dust myself off and begin to do it differently. There is no easy formula for feeling good in sobriety. And even though I haven’t drank alcohol for many years I still feels pangs of guilt over many things. I am not so healed that I can honestly say I never feel regret. What I am suggesting is that I quit resisting what needs to be done on any given day. The one thing I must do is grow in love with me and the true beauty within. We don’t get sober when we are ready, we get sober when we are willing. As always, I love you, Lisa
      p.s. I admire that you often comment. Many do not because of fear. You have a beautiful spirit. I always care about what you have to say … always

  • Lis, you have made my life much more incredible than I could ever imagine (and I’m only in the beginning of the road) and I thank you immensely for the tools you have provided me with. Your blog is one of those tools :). And YES, it is a choice! I am finally starting to choose love, instead of bingeing (self hate). I am not perfect, my process isn’t being perfect but now I am not even expecting perfection, since you told me it wouldn’t come. I’m deciding to experience love, nothing else. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Hi Lisa, I have really enjoyed blog and your comments and have nominated your blog as a very inspiring blog.

    Thanks, Paul

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