My Christmas experience since becoming sober have by in large, been fantastic, but my first sober Christmas was by far the toughest. The whole family went for dinner at the local Golf club but I had only been sober for two months and the fog in my head was still very much clearing, my emotions were all over the place. I convinced myself everyone was looking at me and wondering why I wasn’t drinking. I really believed I was that important, that the main focus on this special day was ‘why is big Graham not drinking?’
At this point I was still questioning everything, I wanted to stay sober with all my heart but I still found myself trying to find a reason to drink – one wouldn’t hurt would it? I even began to think, well if I can’t drink maybe I could take something else to get me through the day (drugs in case you hadn’t guessed). However, every time I began to think like this I would simply go back to basics and take everything ten minutes at a time. I got there in the end – just.
I don’t think my family enjoyed that Christmas very much because they were so worried about me, it was the start of a very positive journey but the whole experience typified what a rocky road the journey to sobriety can be at times.
I have loved Christmas time every year since then. I love being with my friends and family with both a clear head and a clear heart. I love watching everyone have a good time without worrying about me anymore. The really strange thing is I love being able to watch them all have a wee drink whilst having zero urge to join in.
Mrs W and I usually get up together and I make the breakfast. Then we open our presents, which haunted by the disappointment on her face in previous years, I still find difficult. Hopefully this is the year I can finally relax, safe in the knowledge that I put my heart and soul into her gift. I still feel a tad uncomfortable receiving gifts, deep down I still don’t believe I deserve anything from anyone but perhaps that will change with time. Some people say I’m too hard on myself, but if they knew the full extent of what I’ve put my family through over the years they might feel differently.
It’s also a big birthday for Mrs W this year which I am looking forward to. I’ve planned a nice little night out for us both, just the two of us, it’s a nice feeling to plan something around someone you love instead of planning it around booze. Mrs W has been an absolute rock throughout everything, the most amazing Wife and my best friend in the world, I’m looking forward to showing her just how much she means to me.
I have also started taking my two wonderful nieces to the Pantomime. Last year when I took them on my own it was one of the
highlights of Christmas for me. This might seem like a small thing to some but when you have hated Christmas because of an addiction it means the world. There’s a picture that was taken of me holding a magic wand and when I saw it, I got really emotional. I looked into my own eyes and saw genuine happiness, I didn’t care that I was waving a sparkly wand around and singing and booing at all the characters, it was just a face of sheer happiness. The kids had to tell me to calm down I was having so much fun!
Christmas Eve is spent with my Niece and Nephew when we will check out where Santa is and maybe give him a phone to see if he has remembered to head to our houses and to ask if we have all been good this year. I missed this so many times when I was drinking and even turned up to see them drunk on one occasion – I regret so much the little things I missed out on because I was drinking. It means everything to me now.
Christmas day will be spent with all the family and I can’t wait to sit down with them and watch everyone just enjoying Christmas, especially the kids. This is obviously a time for family, but for me it’s so much more than that. Every year the people around me didn’t know if this would be their last Christmas with me, that weight is gone now and at last we can be excited for the future. Unfortunately this Xmas will be our first without Aunty M (she was like my Gran) as she passed away this year at the age of 98, she will be sadly missed but again I was able to be there right up to the very end. As a family we dealt with the grief together, rather than me boozing on my own.
This year has possibly been the best of my life, we have made new friends and we are really enjoying our life. Personally I put a huge part of this down to blogging, it has been a massive help to me, telling my story and hopefully giving people that little bit of hope that they too can deal with addiction. Trust me when I say if I can stop, anyone can stop. Always remember that when you stop drinking your life doesn’t have to stop, in fact some would say it’s about to begin again.
I love Christmas now and I sincerely hope that if there is someone reading this that has just stopped drinking and is dreading the time of year, just remember how far you have come and how far you can go. If you haven’t stopped drinking, it’s not too late.
My family and I Would like to wish everyone the Christmas that you’ve wished for.
I thank everyone who has been involved in my journey so far from the bottom of my heart, you all know who you are.
Merry Christmas everyone,