This will be my third sober Christmas and I'm very excited about it. It's so nice to really relax and recharge over the holidays, instead of using the time to squeeze in more drinking with seemingly fewer consequences. It's nice to know that although I may embarrass my daughters, it won't be the alcohol talking. It's really nice to know that I won't scream at my husband about nothing on Christmas Eve.
I had this realization that there are many flashback moments that exist in my body, just under the skin, that weigh me down a bit about Christmas. A few days ago I was doing the dishes, looking out the kitchen window into the darkness, feeling anxious. I had a pre-deja vu moment (is that a thing?) where I remembered all the times my dad used to stumble into the house after he'd been out drinking. It was always worse during the holidays, because there were so many opportunities to drink. And there was this time that my uncle had a fight with my Aunt and came over to our house on Christmas Eve. The adults stayed up late drinking and when I got up to see the presents, he'd thrown up on the living room carpet. It was gross and I hated him a bit then.It's strange how these things sit just beneath the skin, rising to the surface with the hanging of Christmas lights.
I was trying to think of my own Christmas moments of shame. It took a while to remember any, to be honest (really showing how little we consider the feelings of others when we're drinking). Of course I do remember drinking to much. That's a given. But most of my moments of shame are sprinkled liberally throughout the year. However, my last drunk Christmas was a bit of a doozy. After dinner I drank a gallon of scotch with my dad (wtf??). My step-mother was annoyed as he started to fall asleep in situ. After everyone drifted off to bed, I stayed up talking with my step-sister until 3am. (I don't think she was drinking, but I know for a fact that I was.) When I got up the next morning, my hangover was so intense that I had wine with lunch. I had the feeling that my entire family thought it was "a bit much" although no one said anything. Nothing horrible happened (though who knows what memories live beneath my daughters' skins), but it was one of those situations where I felt vaguely pathetic. I remember trying to pace myself so that no one would think I was an alcoholic. I remember sneaking into the kitchen to top off my glass.
If I'd continued drinking I think Christmas would have become like that all the time.