The holidays are just around the corner, and this will be my second year experiencing this time of year sober. I grew up spending this time of year with family; whether it was back home in San Diego or Santa Barbara with other relatives. This gave me an explicit representation of how the holidays should be spent. I remember when I was young and we would have the family over to open presents, and we would all sit around the dinner table enjoying the company of each other. That’s how it was for many years. I never knew anything different and just thought that was how it was always going to be. As I got into my sophomore year of high school, I began to look forward to opening gifts rather than seeing certain members of my family. After opening presents, I would isolate in my room and obsess about the next time I could to go out and drink. The following year it was even worse. My attitude toward going to see family was not a top priority; I wanted to stay in town. The next year in April I moved out of my parent’s house, and I currently have never returned. I thought it was the right direction to go. The holiday season came around in 2015, and as a result of my using; I had driven everyone in my life away including my family. I spent the holidays alone in an apartment with no family dinner, no gifts, nothing.
In hindsight, I can see that my choices affected the hearts of the people that love me the most. My family wanted to spend this time of the year with me but deep down they knew I would not be present and it may cause more harm than good to other people around me.
Alcohol took a toll on my life in high school and as time went on it only got worse, no matter how much I wanted it to stop I had no control of the path I was going down and the pain I was going to continue to cause.
The next year my circumstances got bad enough, and I eventually got help, I was slightly new to recovery this time last year and when the holidays came around it was great, I got to meet a lot of good people, but still it felt off, couldn’t pinpoint why. However, this year I am very excited to be apart of the holiday experience. It is no longer about what I can get but rather what more I can give to not only my family but also the people around me. I am genuinely grateful that I can live and be happy around this time of year rather than struggle and survive. More than it all I get to spend these days this year with people who care about me whether they are blood-related or not.