The Holidays Once Saddled by Misery, A New Outlook Brings Joy and Excitement for this Holiday Season    

Happy family - Christmas
Photo by martin-dm/

Before my addiction started, holidays were never what they were supposed to be. My dad was addicted to meth, basically my whole life. I can only remember a few Christmas’, I do not remember ever trick or treating with my family, and we never had family Thanksgiving. My mom tried, but there was no money for a Christmas tree, let alone presents. I went through a lot dealing with this. Going back to school and seeing everyone with their new Christmas stuff hurt and was embarrassing, I felt like my dad did not care about me or my sister. That is when my anger started to get to the best of me, I had to be strong for my little sister.

Every year around the holidays, I was miserable. I avoided it as much as possible. Everybody else seemed so happy, spending time with their families. Then there was me and my little sister. What did we do so wrong to not deserve the same? Over the years, I grew to hate the holidays, especially Christmas. I always told myself Christmas is for kids to make myself feel better, I guess. I did not want anyone to know what I was going through was bothering me. My older sister would always invite me and my younger sister over for dinner on holidays, invite us to go trick or treating with her kids, but it never felt like I belonged.

Eventually, the invitations stopped for me because I would show up high. If anyone tried to tell me I needed help, I would go into defense mode, which caused an argument. If I were high on Xanax, an argument is something my family would try to avoid because it would always escalate. I had so much anger inside me. I became somebody I didn’t want to be. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Xanax is all I wanted or cared about to numb my feelings. I would eventually have to leave my sister’s house for acting like this. I scared her kids, and she did not want me around. I ruined my time with my family. All my older sister wanted was for all of us to be together. Waking up after all that went down one Christmas, I did not remember anything that had happened.

My sisters would always tell me I am going to end up just like our dad, someone I swore I would never become. Fast forward to the day I had my daughter. I thought that finally, I had a purpose. I promised her I would give her everything and more. I would protect her and never let her down. Holidays were so much better with her. Seeing her smile, spending time with her, watching her grow into her own little person. I wanted to give her the best holidays, something I never had. Over time, I continued taking Xanax. Instead of buying her gifts, I would buy what I wanted. I would hate myself for doing this to her, breaking her heart, letting her down.

All she wanted was me to just be there. She wasn’t asking for presents. She just wanted her mommy. I was missing out on celebrating with her. I remember my older sister threw her a birthday party, and I showed up so high she kicked me out. All the kids were crying because I started yelling at my sister. My baby didn’t have her mommy at her own birthday party. I was never in any of the pictures of the holiday dinners that I did go to. I have nothing to reminisce on. I wasn’t there. I do not remember anything good.

All that has changed this year. Now that I am clean, I can give my daughter the holidays she wants and deserves. I can be there for my sisters, my mom. They finally have ME back. We can celebrate each other without having to worry about me showing up and making things uncomfortable. I will be able to give my family good memories to cherish and look back on. There were so many times they did not know if I was going to be alive to see another holiday. Now they won’t have to worry about getting that phone call. I am excited to be with my daughter and my family clean and sober. The holidays are finally a positive time of the year for me.

Now I understand holidays are not all about gifts. It is about being with your family and surrounded by love. I appreciate my family so much more, knowing they still tried all through my addiction. I gave them every reason to disconnect from me, but they just wanted me there to spend the holidays with them, something I never could see because of how deep I was into my addiction. Holidays have a different meaning to me now, and I cannot wait to spend this year and so many more SOBER AND HAPPY with my family.

By Melanie H, Narconon Suncoast Graduate



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.