Day 274: Recovery and Reflections

Christmas Light StrandIt’s starting to get busier out there: traffic is thicker, stores are close to frenzied, and routine activities take just a little longer than usual.  Add on the extra responsibilities of party planning, more grocery shopping, gift shopping, and domestic decorating, and it’s a potential mix for disaster for any alcoholic.

This isn’t the first year I’ve been aware of the pressures of the holidays, but it is the first year I haven’t drank through them.  Granted, getting things done is a lot easier sober (and not to mention all of the time I save avoiding the liquor store lineups), but for the first time, I’m forced to feel the pressure.

My strategy for getting through (and hopefully enjoying) the holidays is to take is easy on myself.  Except for swapping out a few paintings on the walls, I’m not decorating the house.  No tree, no lights, no guilt.  I’ve left the tree in the basement before, but I’ve always beat myself up over it.  “Oh I should put up the tree; that’s what normal people do; I’m so lazy.”  Not this year.

Another strategy is to take a lot of time off work at the end of this month.  As crazy as it sounds, I’ve been going through this process for the past 274 days without taking time off work.  Sure, I’ve taken a 1/2 day here and there for appointments and errands, but I still have over a week of vacation left this year.  Strategically placed around stat holidays, I’ll end up with 12 days off at Christmas.

I’m looking forward to a scaled-back holiday season this year; one without guilt for scaling it back.  In AA there are a lot of sayings and catch-phrases.  “One day at a time” hasn’t resonated with me before, but it does now.  It’s so easy to get wrapped-up (no pun intended) in planning multiple gatherings and scheduling the shopping madness, but I think when it comes to looking ahead to the stressors of the holidays, I will take it “one day at a time.”

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