As an active Alcoholic the holidays were the best part of the year. They marked a time when I was going to be given all of the things I did not deserve. Not only did it mean that I was going to receive gifts from my family, it meant that I was going to be giving myself gifts as well. In the form of feeding my addiction. While everyone else was focused on others and the spirit of giving, all I could think of is myself.
For me selfishness and self-centeredness is just a part of my life. The mark of a holiday that is all about giving to others means little to nothing to me. I am so deep in my disease that I do not even realize this about myself. It was only after getting some time sober that I was able to learn what the spirit of giving is really about. I was given the ability to be a part of something I missed out on for quite awhile.
My first holiday in sobriety was a real eye opening experience. The first Christmas I had in the house was in my mind, a time to catch up. I was in a rush to make up for all of the years I neglected to get things for my sisters to open on Christmas morning. I soon was taught what the real meaning of giving to others was. It does not just fall under the category of being able to buy things for others, it means so much more. I could have just as easily bought gifts for my family when I was drinking. Even though at the time I was still not able to do that. It is more about my attitude and my actions surrounding the holidays. I learned that it means so much more to be mentally and emotionally present.
Like others I can remember the gifts when I was kid that I got, but the real memories I have are of the laughter, the smiles, and the love of family. Even though there were material gifts, the real gifts were the memories and the good times we had as a family. Getting together with people and making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. Not focusing on getting what I wanted, but seeing everyone else have fun on the holiday.
Through the steps and the program, I have learned that giving back is all about making sure that others around me are happy. It doesn’t have to be in the form of giving gifts to people – it is about what I can do for others, not what I can buy them. Giving is about whatever I can do to make the holidays more enjoyable for the people around me. The meaning of giving is putting others in front of myself. Through doing this, I am not only able to make the holidays better for others, I can find the real joy in them for myself as well.
-Alex W., New Life House alumni
Last Updated on May 24, 2022