Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Taking care of ourselves in this season

I tend to go to more AA meetings in later December. I'm not afraid that I will drink. I do enough in my life to keep that at bay. It's more for relief from the ramped-up craziness of the world at this time of year. Along with the mulled cider and pine smells, there is a lot of tension and stress in the air. In an addictive culture like ours, it is very hard to stay off the bandwagon of overconsumption, whether it be food or gifts or festivities. It's very hard not to slip into the daydream of some mythical holiday where everything was perfect and everybody got along. We have hyper-expectations of fullfillment and satisfaction on these holidays that are so bound to disappoint.

The first year I was sober, I had three months clean at Christmas and no money to fly home with. I did a lot of meetings and I heard a man long sober say that he always volunteered to work (he had a retail job) on the holidays. It wasn't so much altruism as safety for him. He needed the holidays to each just be another Tuesday or Friday, another day of sobriety. "I need Christmas to be just another day on the calendar," he said. This idea has helped me keep some perspective. 

Most AA members have no illusions about their own craziness or the culture's, for that matter. So it's a very safe place to be: with like minds.

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