Preparing for the holidays with the kids, and only a few days before Christmas, I think back on the last several years and consider what I have been through and put my family through. All the drinking, all the hangovers, all the naps and wishing the days would end. I do have regrets for the things I have done during this time of year. But my focus this week and in the years ahead is to work on moving beyond the shame. Finding the freedom in the newness of sobriety.
I want to always look back on memories from years past and be happy for the Christmas memories I have given my children, because I know that they are largely unaware of what I was going through. It is still hard for me to let it go though. I still remember the Polar Express ride through Needham with the kids, except I was drunk and sipping from a spiked hot chocolate. I look back on the many time I wrapped presents late into the night on Christmas Eve, except I was drunk, popping wine bottle after bottle. I think about the night we attended the Christmas pageant at church, except we rolled in ten minutes late on two wheels, taking the pastor's parking spot, drunk after an all day booze fest at a friend's house, the kids confused, the adults reeking of alcohol.
Looking back on all of these years, I don't want to beat myself up over these horrible thoughts. It is taking a lot of focus not to do that. It is time to be happy that I will NOT be doing these things this time around. I am sober. I am happy. I am free.
I won't be staying up drunk, stumbling around on Christmas Eve this year. I will embrace this holiday and soak up all of the magic that is left in the few remaining years that my children are this young. I will bake Christmas cookies with them, because I won't be hungover. I will wake up early with them, because I won't be in pain from too much wine the night before. I will be present, because I won't be in a wine induced fog, day drinking all afternoon. I want to make this one the best Christmas for them and for me. This is the first of many. 24 days sober.