Image by George Eastman House via Flickr
- If you're fresh out of the rehab, don't feel that you have to hang out with your old friends because it's Christmas. This is especially true if your old friends are anything like my old friends were. Everyone is just going to make each other uncomfortable. When you're fresh out of the rehab, everything is uncomfortable anyway. So don't make it worse.
- It doesn't have to be the best holiday ever. It's easy to think that way when the last twenty or so were kind of screwed up, and you're fueled by the desperate desire to make it all better. But one Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa) is just that. One. Hopefully of many to come. Easy does it.
- Always have an escape route. Even when it's the most beloved of friends and family, after the sixth or seventh cup of Christmas cheer, Aunt Tootsie from Tobyhanna's hysterectomy story really loses its zip. You find yourself biting your lip and looking longingly at the bottle of Jack D over on the server. It's time to go, preferably to a meeting.
- "But I don't want to go to a meeting on Christmas!" (Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa.) It's going to be nothing but losers!." My sponsor periodically reminds me of when I would go out to a bar on Christmas day to buy drinks for the poor slobs who didn't have anybody. Of course, I did have somebody--several somebodies--all at home, waiting for me while I was at the bar. Just stop whining and go to the meeting.
- It's not your job to educate every well-wisher you meet on addiction in general, and yours in particular. It's hard for ego-centric types like us to grasp, but sometimes when people ask how are you, they are just being polite. They don't want to hear how the craving to smoke crack is subsiding ever since you began to deal with the childhood sexual trauma issues. Oh yeah, and the self-mutilation's improving too. They want to hear, "I'm good. How are you."
- Bottom line, it's just another day. We get through it like we get through all the others, with a mixture of grace and awkwardness, anxiety and exhilaration. Keep your phone handy with all the important numbers on speed dial. Hang in there.
- Oh yeah--don't use!