Having stopped using drugs back in 2010, I stopped drinking alcohol in February of 2016, and that ended my addictive struggle with alcohol and drugs.  Well, at least it represented an end to my active addiction.  But, the rest of life, well, THAT struggle is ongoing!  And holidays in particular still present a challenge. 

Being a musician, I spend a lot of my time performing in venues where alcohol sales and consumption are paramount to those venues survival.  Over the years, my desire to drink has been replaced by my desire to not drink!  Well, not drink booze anyway.  Coffee?  Well, me and the doc’s still argue over that one!! 

When the holidays roll around, there are a crap-load of things that pop-up that could, if I let them, make those special days really eat at me.  And, as any long-timed recovering addict can attest, really make alcohol and drugs appear attractive!  But the key here is, as I said, “If I let them!”  There is a long list of not so admirable things I have done in my past.  And even with as long as I’ve been involved in recovery, and with as long as I have been clean and sober, a little guilt still rises and lets me know about the things I did.  But, unlike my early days in recovery, I don’t carry little whips around in my shirt pocket and pull them out every now and then and beat myself up over the guilt I feel.  Instead, I acknowledge the pain I have caused, and I feel, and move on.  Hey, I can’t change anything I’ve done.  ANYTHING!  But I can NOT do those things again.  And hopefully, the injured parties can recognize that the fat man standing in front of them has changed and sincerely regrets those wrongs. 

Anyway, holidays can wreak havoc on recovering people, if they haven’t learned how to deal with whatever feelings creep up during those days.  In my early recovery, I depended on attending sober functions during the holidays if I found myself uncomfortable in “earth-people” situations!  And that’s a safe alternative.  Now, don’t take my next statement to mean to NOT rely on sober circles for a safe alternative.  But it doesn’t really add to your abilities to deal with everyday situations when temptation is everywhere.  That is where understanding yourself, your shortcomings, and your strengths come in.  And most important, where “forgiveness” comes in.  And the forgiveness to which I am referring is “forgiving yourself!”  It’s not enough to be just clean and sober, to reap the rewards of life in recovery.  Forgiving yourself is key! 

So, Happy Thanksgiving!!  Merry Christmas!!!  And Happy New Year!!  Life is awesome!  YOU are awesome!!  

I’ll catch you folks down the road!

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