Ever since I can remember I always had the holiday spirit and I always had a nice time spending the holidays with my family. I remember being little; I would go to Iowa to spend Thanksgiving at my grandparents house and hang out with my entire family.
It was great being outside in a sweatshirt, 30 degrees and playing basketball with my older brother and my uncle. Everything felt right. All of the food would be on the table and it would be time to go through the line. I’d be that 10-year-old kid who had eyes that were bigger than my stomach. I’d still GO BIG because I saw the people I looked up to doing it, and I wanted to do the same thing. Perhaps it’s necessary to take an in depth look first at a couple of popular reasons people say 12-step programs don’t work in order to understand where all the passion is coming from. There is an ounce of truth in everything and for every reason someone gives as to why AA doesn’t work, there’s probably a member who has gone rogue, took matters into his or her own hands and added fuel to the fire of misunderstanding. This is not new behavior, it happens everywhere; in all types of organizations, families and fellowships, but hopefully the person who needs to get sober will surround themselves with reputable members who honor the sanctity of AA as it was intended.
I had fun playing pool with my big brother even though I rarely won; I still had some fight left in me to do better next time. After Thanksgiving was over, all I could think about was that Christmas was right around the corner. I’d think about waking up on Christmas morning and seeing all of the presents under the tree. Things like that would get me excited as a kid during the holidays. During Christmastime,***1
I would usually see my grandparents visiting from Florida or Iowa, hang out at the house all day and have a nice Christmas Eve dinner.
Since my parents are divorced I got the chance to wake up at one of my parents houses, open up presents, eat a nice brunch and then head over to the other house with my siblings to do it all again! This was the routine that I had for a while but it all started to change as I got further into high school. I began to smoke marijuana and at first it didn’t affect any of the family factors in my life. But by the end of my senior year in high school I didn’t want to be with my family on the holidays.
I’d wake up irritable from being out late the night before. I would open up presents and go get high in the bathroom so that I could be friendly for breakfast. After that I would head to the other house and plow my way through opening presents, eat and get out of the house as soon as possible. I did not have the ability to be a respectful person when I was not high. I’d rush through seeing my grandparents for only an hour before leaving. I didn’t think about how they’d come up to Minnesota to visit me and see how I was doing. I was too concerned about what I had to do for myself in that moment.
There’s been a change in the way that I see things these days. I had the opportunity to visit with my family on Thanksgiving. I can tell how much they care about me and love me, they’re willing to travel all the way out here to visit me. I was able to be respectful and make it about them because it has been all about me for way too long now. I’m grateful that I am going to have fun during the holidays and I don’t have to worry about how I am going to get out of the house and get high. Being sober means that I get to feel all of the holiday spirit and I’m going to pass that onto the next person that I see. I am excited for this holiday season and I hope that all of you have Happy Holidays!
New Life House Member