Holidays, Recovering Alcoholics and the Family


I can honestly say that as a recovering alcoholic, I hated it when the holidays would come. There’s so much stress that accompanies Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years. I have now survived eleven years worth totally clean and sober.

As a recovered addict and family member of someone who is recovering, I can say that I can’t stand the stress that accompanies the festive seasons as well.

I am what they refer to as a two time winner. I have been in the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and also I’ve worked the same twelve in the AL-anon program.

Listen to understand this better, we have to realize that it was social situations and stress that contributed to the addicts drinking behaviors before they decided to get help.

Woman Enjoying LifeAnyone who has ever had a few drinks knows that your nerves are eased and you become a lot more social after getting a few good shots in you. Why do you think that so many people must drink alcohol before they can get out on the dance floor?

When these special days roll around every year, they come filled with more responsibilities and people for the person in recovery to deal with. It’s a time when people who are attending support groups increase their meetings because it helps the alcoholic stay sober.

Family members of alcoholics are just as bad at hating the holidays.

During Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years family members of problem drinkers spend more time in their support groups as well. The holidays are stressful for everyone. So, it just stands to reason that during these times of the year people in recovery must work their programs extra hard.

One of my favorite sayings that a good friend in the AL-anon program shared with me says: “have a nice day unless you’ve made other plans.” This is the type of attitude that we must adopt during the Christmas season. If we don’t we will find ourselves miserably unhappy because of all of the stress.

If you are a recovering alcoholic or family member of a problem drinker, work extra hard to let go of your problems and let God have the stress that comes with the holidays. Spend more time in meetings than normal and read more helpful literature.

I think that it’s important to treat the holidays like any other day. Whatever I do on a daily basis to maintain my serenity, I continue to do that on Christmas, Thanksgiving and on New Years Day. If I am an alcoholic in recovery, I stay away from things that might trigger the desire for a drink. If I’m the family member of the active alcoholic, I want to be on guard for the various personality characteristics of the alcoholic that may surface.

I guess the main thing is to be on guard for all of the things that may suddenly appear that would want to steal your serenity or sobriety. I think it’s also important to have a good time during the holidays. I can choose to be happy or sad. It’s my choice to be serene or out of sorts.

I’m going to have a great time during this Hanukkah and Christmas season. I’ll lite the menorah, trim the tree, decorate with lights, bake cookies, eat too much and have a great time with friends and family.


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