This is the first time in a long time that I have been stoked for Christmas. Around this time last year I was coming out of a stint in rehab followed by a trip to the psych ward. The gnarly part was that I thought that all of that was acceptable, and that I could handle the situation.
I was so convinced that I was this misunderstood kid who was trying his hardest to do the right thing in spite of adverse circumstances. All I was doing however, was getting loaded and feeling sorry for myself. Last Christmas I was sitting in my room, only thinking about the gifts I was going to receive. Purely of the getting, rather than the giving. I just wanted to get gifts and get out of my house to go get loaded with my friends. Safe to say, I made it a pathetic excuse for Christmas time.
Ironically, I always told myself that Christmas and the holidays were a time of giving, rather than receiving. But I never really believed that. I guess I only thought that the whole giving part applied to other people, excluding me of course. If I didn’t get what I had hoped for, I’d put on a smile and attempt to pretend that I was happy with the way things were going, as if the gift was going to fix my chronic unhappiness. The whole experience of receiving only left me satisfied for a day or so, until the initial rush of new things wore off. A few days after Christmas, I only found myself desolate and back to how I had felt prior – miserable and unappreciative.
I remember year after year I never really cared about anyone in my life, even during the holidays. I would get to hang out with family I only got to see once or twice a year, and still have to get coaxed out of my room by my parents in an attempt to get me to socialize. I had to fake every emotion around them because my drug use had robbed me of really feeling. God forbid I actually put any work into my life.
Now, the holidays and Christmas are about rebuilding the lost relationships with my family that I had so willingly squandered. I get to be with my family, sober. I get to see my little sister, who I pushed out of my life, in a good place. I get to truly appreciate people in my life and see all of the people who are still showing up for me, after all of the mistakes I’ve made and wreckage I’ve left in my wake. I’ve actually felt what gratitude means, I’ve got a group of guys I live with that are willing to show up for me 24/7. At this point, I get to see how blessed I am on a day to day basis, instead of wishing for all the things I don’t have.
This year, I get to see how blessed I am to have a family in my life who is willing to forgive me for all of the horrible things I’ve done to them. They’re willing to drive down here all the way from Northern California to come see their son. Most people don’t have the luxury of having a family like that. It took me a while to get in touch with that gracious feeling that comes with all of this, but I’m so glad that the feeling eventually came.
-Sam N., New Life House member
Last Updated on May 24, 2022