Christmas Eve 2011 – I check my bank account balance on my phone before the liquor store closes early. I have about $11. Should I get a pint of whiskey or brandy? What if that’s not enough? It needs to last for two days until the liquor store opens again. Maybe wine, which is totally appropriate to drink at home on Christmas eve while opening presents with the family. One bottle for sure won’t be enough, but I don’t have enough money for two. I’ll go with the cheap wine in a 1.5 litre bottle for $9.99. As I pay for my purchase I’m acutely aware that I’m a slave to this bottle. I wonder if the clerk knows. Don’t be silly – it’s totally normal to buy a big bottle of wine on December 24. I walk out, clutching that big bottle in a paper bag, feeling ashamed. That night, I drink alone as I sit with my husband and son.
Christmas Eve 2014 – I’m not thinking about my bank account or liquor store hours. I’ve got some extra money from a little sober hobby I started. Some of that money I’ve used to buy a gift for a special friend. I was assigned this year to be JJ’s recovery coach, and our relationship has blossomed into one of mutual support and admiration. At 2 pm I’ll stop by to drop off her gift. There hasn’t been any alcohol brought into the house by me or my husband for 3 years now. We have plenty of sparkling water, juices, coffee and soda. I feel at peace. Our sons will come over; we’ll have a fire, food, gifts and a movie. I am free from the obsession to move through the evening with a drink in hand.
Life is good!