The holidays have always been a bit of a depressing time for me. I have always felt disconnected from my family, and I never had much of a presence in my home around the holidays. Most of my family lives outside of the country, and only my mom lives in the States. I would rarely see the rest of my family during the holidays and even though they would send me cards and gifts and other things like that, I never really got into the holiday spirit, since they lived so far away. This feeling of disconnectedness was only amplified with my drug and alcohol use, preventing me from having a sober Thanksgiving.
Last March, I was presented with an opportunity to get sober and really try to improve the life that I had done little to nothing with. I made it about a month and then I started using again. During this time, I was still passing drug tests and fooling my family and pretending to be sober as best as I could and as far as anyone knew, I was “sober” for six months when Thanksgiving rolled around again. My parents were so grateful that their son was getting the help that he needed and was living the life that they always knew that I could live, but I could never shake the negative thoughts and the anxiety that I was going to get found out and I would ruin the first holiday that my parents and I were going to spend together where I would hopefully be present. At dinner, we went around and mentioned something that we were all grateful for, and when it got time for me to share, I froze up a little bit. I mentioned how I was grateful to be sober and be getting the help that I needed and for my family being back in my life, completely pushing the fact that I was living a lie out of my head. After dinner, I went and got high as I would on any given night. We spent the rest of the holidays together and my parents could not have been happier which, counter-intuitively, led me to feel worse, as I was the only one who knew what was really going on behind closed doors. It came out in March of this year that I was getting loaded the entire time I was in rehab last year, and my parents were devastated.
They sent me to an inpatient facility and then finally to New Life House. Now that it is time for the holidays again, I have been reflecting on how my life has changed over the past 12 months. I am now actually sober and getting my life together in a way that I never thought possible at this time last year when I was getting high every day and slowly but surely ruining my life even more. I am so grateful that I have been given this opportunity to change my life and get my family back. I am connecting with my family in a way that I could never have before me coming to New Life, and I am actually excited to have my mom come out from the Midwest to spend the holidays with me. Getting sober has given me an opportunity that I could not have had if I was still back at home getting high every day. I am looking forward to this Thanksgiving and to be able to spend it with my family and be as present as I can be to give them the best holiday that I possibly can.
- Written by Spencer