Thursday, December 10, 2015

Getting through the holidays and each day

It's the time of year when so much is going on.  I have spent so little time at the computer. I apologize for not reading blogs.  And because I am truly moving to a point in life that I no longer feel the need to pour out feelings on here, I have thought about moving to another type of social media.

I have Twitter that I use sporadically. Maybe it's time to jump into the whole Facebook thing. But then I think about the ugliness that seems to be prevalent there. We don't have it ugly in our blog world--at least from the point that we aren't ugly to each other.  This is a supportive community and certainly has given me a lot over the years.  I am most appreciative of that.

My stepping into more of an activist role in the community has absorbed a lot of time.  My standing passively by when there is so much injustice happening is not something I can do.  I view this as practicing the principles of Al-Anon in all my affairs, having courage to change the things I can and speaking my truth without fear.  I don't let the problems I see take over my life though. It is important for me to maintain balance.

Regarding balance, we have been invited to quite a few parties this year.  It is quite a change that I used to be nervous about going to parties where alcohol was present. Now C. and I can go without feeling uncomfortable.  Being able to enjoy social settings has made the holidays much more enjoyable than what would happen in times past when I was gripped with anxiety about my wife's drinking.

So many though are struggling with the whole holiday scene.  Here are a few things that we talked about at a meeting this week that will help during the holidays:

  • Remember the three C's: that you did not cause the alcoholism. You can't control it. You can't cure it.
  • Detaching myself from the situation. I have an escape plan, a Plan B, in which I remove myself from uncomfortable situations.  I may just leave the room and walk away or if a relapse would occur, then I know to call her sponsor. 
  • Doing service work and volunteering to help others. It is an excellent way to get out of your own anxiety and have a good feeling.  There are also meetings and often special events around the holidays. Even if you are traveling, there are local meetings that are being held.  Look them up and go to a meeting. 
  • Going back to basics when things get stressful continues to soothe me. I remember that I am powerless over other people, places and things. I am powerless over alcohol.  I say the Serenity Prayer over and over to quiet my mind.  I remember that I may have to break things down to small time intervals by just getting through the next 10 minutes of a bad situation. 
  • Not participating in blaming and recriminations helps.  I don't participate in the blame game. Again, the escape plan is useful. If things get out of hand, walk out of the room and calm yourself down so you can go back and enjoy your family.
  • Plan in advance for activities. Be aware and honest with what the circumstances may be. If you know it will end badly, stay away, leave or plan for different transportation.
  • Be careful and aware. Staying safe is important. Look out for yourself and seek out friends who are supportive. Refusing to get into a car driven by someone who is alcoholically impaired may save your life. 
If you have other ideas on what works for you during the holidays, please post them. I appreciate your thoughts because it is difficult to get through a time of year when expectations run so high.  Keeping my expectations low has helped a lot in not building resentment. 

Thank you for being here.  If any of you would like to share your experience, strength and hope by writing a post, just email me ( Wishing you the best. 


  1. Hello, dear Syd. I have nothing much to say except that I am glad you are out there, glad you are living your life according to your principals, glad to know you.

  2. Great list. Another way I take care of myself is not feeling pressured to give gifts because I have to. I want that to come from a place of love and not obligation, not matter what time of year. I am happy to give to various charities instead as most people I know don't need more stuff and usually appreciate the donation. I love the idea of money being used to help people and animals in need. Is another Amazon gift card that necessary?

  3. Syd, I'm on Facebook but don't allow any bigoted or offensive posts and unFriend American posters very fast if they sound as if they think US politics are the centre of the universe. I'm also on Twitter but not sure what to do there --

    Great suggestions for a peaceful and sober season!

  4. The one thing that has stayed constant over the years is: "Always park so that you can get out if you need to". After almost 25 years in the AA program I went to a cocktail party that turned into a "OBama Bashing" party and just got worse as the alcohol flowed. It made me sick and when I left I found I was hemmed in by two cars. I can still feel the panic and disgust that I felt then !
    I have tried Facebook but prefer my blogger friends !

    1. Have to admit the Obama bashing on facebook is irritating for me too, most people don't have the courage to do it as viciously when they are face to face.

  5. Oh this is a bad time of the year. Too many memories, over too many years. Too much forced frivolity, expectations to be happy, to have fun. I withdraw, become an observer, a listener, and wait it out.......

  6. I'm like Shadow Syd, I detach from almost every aspect of family and parties beginning at Halloween through New Years. That's me, my feelings, my family has outgrown the dysfunction and left the alcoholism in the past. I may go to a sisters house this year a day or two before Christmas as I have about 25 nieces and nephews I have never met. It's approaching that time where they may need a dose of "Uncle Mark." Lack of inhibition has it's advantages too.

    Whatever you choose to do though Syd, do it in peace. FB isn't all that bad--it all depends on who you accept as "friends" and even then if they go off the rails once to often with opinion or crap--"unfriend them." Most people never notice anyway when you do that.

  7. I think we bloggers are nicer than the general public on Facebook. I have an enjoyable presence on FB because I don't have too many friends, and when those do get political, I can hide their posts. Life is already difficult, I don't need to go looking for things to upset me on FB. I love to see what my friends and family are up to.

  8. I'm always relieved when the holidays are over. I want to enjoy them, but it seems like there is so much external pressure that I just want to hide from. I always wish for simpler things, like just having a quiet dinner with family rather than the materialistic circus that occurs (primarily because of my sister-in-law and her family -- it is completely insane). I also struggle with memories of Christmases past and miss my grandparents.

    I acknowledge all this stuff and know the holidays too shall pass.

    Wishing you a peaceful holiday and new year. Thank you for being there and sharing your wisdom.


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