This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Life
We’ve probably all heard the term ‘like a kid on Christmas morning’ when referring to something that causes excitement and joy. I remember how magical the holidays felt when I was a child. Whether it was the Thanksgiving feasts with endless desserts followed by falling asleep on the couch in my father’s arms; watching football; the anticipation of tearing open the shiny wrapped presents under the tree that I had spent days trying to guess the contents of; the warmth of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows accompanied by Christmas cookies; or the simple joys of having the whole family together for an extended time. It’s a nostalgic feeling when I think about the holidays as a kid, perhaps because that magical feeling is something that can only be felt with the innocence that comes with being a child.
The holidays I remember as an addict are very different. There is no nostalgia when thinking about the tensions my addiction brought to Thanksgiving dinner, or the pain I saw in my parents’ eyes when I would see them for Christmas. I don’t miss the lies I would tell my family in a feeble attempt to convince them I was doing better or the excuses my siblings would make as reasons not to come home for the holidays when there was only one reason that was real. They didn’t want to see or be around their addict brother making a fool of himself or the hurt he caused their mom and dad. They didn’t want to hear the lies or be involved in the confrontations that would inevitably arise when the elephant in the room was addressed.
These weren’t good times and knowing full well I was the culprit for making the holidays what they had become, I certainly didn’t look forward to them. The magic had been replaced by the misery of addiction, and the holidays were nothing more than a reminder of how far removed I had become from the simple joys of living. That didn’t stop me from using the holidays as an excuse to put off getting help, however. I couldn’t possibly go to a treatment center during Christmas and miss all this family fun time, right?
The simple reality is that the holidays will never be what they are meant to be either for the addict or for their loved ones. Whether it’s the intoxication of being under the influence, the resentments that have been building over the years by the actions and behaviors driven by addiction, or simply the physical well-being or lack thereof that comes from the damages done by drug and alcohol abuse, the joys and celebration are often replaced by pain, bickering, and tears.
Now that I have cleaned up my life and done what was necessary to ensure that I do look forward to the holidays this year, I know that the gift I’m bringing to my family isn’t coming with fancy wrapping paper or a big bow. It’s coming with a light that is shining through me again, a personality bearing far more resemblance to the person I was before my life was taken over by drug abuse, a son and brother without the lies and insincerity driven by addiction, and with a peacefulness about me that is only possible from now being clean and sober.
This year I’m bringing the gift of life to my family and all that comes with it. If you or anybody you know is seeking help, please reach out.
Justin P—Narconon Suncoast Graduate