December 27th here– we made it through the holidays, some unscathed and others not.
This holiday season taught me two things: to try to find the good and sometimes you have to put yourself first, even if it’s uncomfortable.
I think this is my 1st completely sober full holiday season. If I’m remembering correctly, in 2017 I was having a good sober run but would keep drinking every few weeks. I ended up drinking during Thanksgiving, but think that I stayed sober Christmas Eve (I might be wrong). In 2018 I stayed sober on Thanksgiving and intended on continuing but got into my dad’s vodka on Christmas Eve. So that is GOOD, albeit the disastrous couple of days we had.
It WAS a disaster. A complete shit show. And all of it was created in my mind– in my head. BUT.. I survived, hubby did too and that alone may have been our Christmas miracle.
The good in this is that we did US. Well, ok, we did ME. I say that because it’s ME that has all of this holiday anxiety.
Hubby reminded me, as we had another emotional conversation on Christmas Day, that holidays have always been stressful for me– always. And that’s typically a time that I numb out with alcohol. I’ve drank at family Christmas parties for YEARS. When my mom was alive we would always do Christmas Eve with her family and I would never remember the trip home- or getting the presents ready. Christmas morning would always be a little rough with excited kiddos eagerly waiting for us to get up early in the wee morning– and me nursing another horrendous hangover. SOOOO… Christmas 2019 resulted in like 20 years of suppressed emotions from holiday stress coming out with a vengeance. It was not pretty, and was not limited to just one meltdown.
We lived and learned and we will not be doing that again. We are making some changes for next year that will hopefully lower some of the stress and anxiety. After all, December 25th is just ONE day, not THE day. Christmas Day this year was extremely extremely uncomfortable. We stayed at my inlaws for a brief time and left quickly without saying goodbye to everyone, which felt awful to me. I wanted to escape quietly and leave hubby there to not create a scene or drama, but he insisted on being with me that day (he knew I was struggling so much).
We left to run a present out to my dad’s that we had forgot, while our kids stayed at the in-laws. We took our time at my dad’s and it was nice to visit him without a houseful of people. His new girlfriend was there too, we met her for the 1st time on Christmas Eve. I don’t want to get attached, but I really like her so far. Since my mom died, he’s had a lot of girl “friends” but he hasn’t gotten attached until now. It was nice having a feminine touch at his house and she seems well put together and to genuinely care for him and seems like a kind person (which is really most important, right?). When we got home I was feeling so ancy about us being gone and our kids still at the Christmas party and I wanted hubby to go back over there. His parents were leaving for Florida the next day and I kept thinking that if something happens to them on their trip, hubby will never forgive me for keeping him away the last day he spent with them (sweet baby Jesus, future tripping at it’s finest). Hubby said NO. “It is ok that we are not there.”
Later on it became clearer to me, WE put US first. We HAD to. And maybe it was more like he put ME first, but that needed to happen as well. I wasn’t being selfish, I was literally having a nervous breakdown. It made me feel guilty to skip out, but it was necessary. And we will more than likely do it again– but perhaps in a less tacky manner.
The second thing that I’ve learned is to try to find the good in bad situations. I guess I kind of knew this but it’s hit home lately.
My holiday meltdown started on Christmas Eve day. I was FREAKING out. I basically told my husband that our marriage is not going to work, and it was mainly because of his family. I don’t want to go into a lot of details here, but I was truly convinced for much of that day that my marriage was over.
When we go through rough times I sometimes wonder if I would actually leave. It’s normally the man that leaves, but since we bought his parents old house and live adjacent to them, I would not want to stay. I’ve sometimes wondered if I can even afford to live on my own. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I would stay to avoid living in poverty. Well, I got my answer, I would NOT stay, not for the sake of comfort.
On that day, that gosh awful day, I did some house hunting. I found the cutest little house in my old neighborhood right by the old beach that Debbie and I used to frequent as kids. I got so excited at the prospect of living on my own in a cute little house with a fenced backyard for my dog to play. I realized that I CAN be independent and happy. This was a huge realization for me. I love my hubby, very much. He is kind, smart & successful at his career, he is an amazing father, he puts our family 1st– always, and he has been my number 1 cheerleader throughout my entire sober journey. BUT I don’t want to stay for the wrong reasons and this experience made me realize that I don’t need to stay with him, but I do want to. I believe that deep down I used to doubt this, but now I KNOW and it is such a powerful thing. That was actually a really great thing to come out of this situation.
Lastly, after this wonderful year that is about to be over (no sarcasm, 2019 WAS pretty darn good to me), I want to work on simplifying my life. Therefore, simplicity is my word for 2020. I have SO much clutter in my life right now, both inside and out and I want to really work on clearing it away.
Today marks 9 month alcohol free. Boy what a wild ride it’s been! I am so freakin’ grateful <3 <3 <3