It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Fuck that, no it’s not. Not for me. My mom is dead, and I’m struggling to stay sober. When I think about “celebrating the holidays” I have trouble thinking of a celebration that doesn’t include alcohol. I think that for my adult life I’ve actually been celebrating booze instead of Jesus. There was Bailey's in my coffee when our family strolled down Candy Cane Lane. Shopping trips included a well-deserved glass of chardonnay at Nordstrom Café. As soon as the hustle and bustle started to stress me out, I’d grab a drink to take the edge off. To make matters worse, this time of year is when the absence of my mom feels like a sharp, stabbing pain, and so for the past 4 holiday seasons I’ve shoved my grief way down and poured a thick layer of vodka on top to keep it quiet. And, I’ve been encouraged, of course. Any time I grew weepy, a well-meaning friend or family member would say, “I understand; it must be so hard. C’mon! Let’s have a cocktail and cheer you up. Your mom wouldn’t want you to waste your holiday being sad. Cheers!” And, it worked, of course. I had a drink and I felt better. Well, I felt better until the next day when I always felt worse. But, not to worry, when the pain became super-uncomfortable there were always more drinks to be had! And, so the cycle continued.
I’ve been sober for over 8 months without any formal support system. Sheer will power alone has been enough. I’ve learned over these past 253 days that staying sober when you’re not tempted is pretty easy. Staying sober when you are tempted is tough. Staying sober when you feel like you need a drink is really fucking hard. This last week I felt like I was losing my mind; “crazy-head” is what I’ve called it. The world is too noisy; there are too many damn people, and way too many smiling, happy people. Damn happy people showing off their beautiful lives everywhere I turn. Damn happy people who took Christmas photos before Halloween apparently, because I got their cards in the mail the day after fucking Thanksgiving. Damn happy people who finished their holiday shopping on December 1st. Damn happy people enjoying their damn wine.
I de-activated my Facebook account in an effort to turn the volume down. It helped, but crazy-head is one persistent bitch. Buzz, buzz, buzz; around, around, around; all of my wires are crossed. How do I celebrate without alcohol? How do I go to holiday parties, stay sober and have fun? I can’t. God, I miss my mom, and I want to crawl under the covers and hide until January 1st. If I could just have a few drinks I’d feel better. But, then, no, I wouldn’t feel better, I’d feel worse, and I’d spiral downward. I’m not sure I’d make it back out of that black hole if I went there again. Oh, but man, wouldn’t it be great to not fucking feel anything for a night? Oh, how I ache to just check the fuck out of my crazy-head for a few medicated, peaceful moments. Husband and kids are out of town; I could get loaded and they’d never know. I could go to a bar. I could drive to a city where no one knows me and check into a hotel. No one would know. This temptation is too strong, this weight is too heavy; I can no longer do it alone. I can’t take another step forward with this sack of rocks pulling me down. I once thought I would make it by myself. I now know that I cannot. Florence says it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back. I say it’s impossible. I’m ready to dance; get this fucking devil off of me.
My name is Kristine, and I’m starting to think, well... shit, maybe I *am* an alcoholic.