Monday, December 05, 2011

The High Expectation Season is Upon Us.

I had a delightful day yesterday with my granddaughter.  I normally cherish my alone time, but after she left, the house felt a little bit empty and a little bit too quiet.  The absence of giggles is something I don't normally notice, but it is almost painful once the awareness is there.  My son has an amazing daughter - and he is missing these wonderful moments.  My daughter-in-law has the days counted until he comes home.  I think it is 117 today.

I'll get back to my work-a-day world today.  I am grateful for it.

This is a difficult time of the year for a lot of us.  The expectation is that it is "the most wonderful time of the year," but that expectation carries a lot of baggage.  We have memories of things past - maybe our now deceased parents, maybe our ex-spouse and happier times around the Christmas tree.  Maybe just the memory of happy children who are now unhappy adults.  Maybe we don't have the money to buy all the gifts we feel committed to purchase.  Maybe we would like to go to a party if no one asked us any questions... sometimes our lives are so complicated it is terrible to watch a friendly face go all "how can I get away from this person- stat!" once we start talking about just simple facts of our lives.

I am grateful to be as old as I am and to have had quite a few sober holidays behind me.  I will be fine.  But it is sad to watch others struggle.  I know how painful it can be.   For me, these days have meaning, but they are all about something that happened 2011 years ago, and that is never an unhappy thing to meditate upon.

So, let me just say, just in case you need someone to:  You have permission to take care of yourself.  You may not be able to go to that party - it is OK - they probably won't even notice you're missing.  You may need to drive to an event alone - so that you can leave without needing to explain or cajole someone else into leaving with you.  You may need to hold that cell phone like a lifeline - and use it in the bathroom and other unlikely places  - to stay in touch with your sponsor and other AA people.  If you have a smart phone, you can get a big book app - mine is called "twelve steps, the companion," and then you are always carrying a big book with you.

For me, one of the most important things to realize is that I am not the center of the universe.  The season will go right on with or without me.  The world will not screech to a halt if I am drinking coffee while others are drinking cocktails - likely no one will even notice.  And even if they do, it won't be as noticeable as my drunken debacles were.  I may think I am central to an event, but I have found that new people step in to be "central" once I step aside.  And I may need to step aside.   Kids don't care if you purchase them something cheap - they may like it better than the really great present you were going to spend too much money on.  And any adult who expects you to spend a lot on them is probably not worth the expense.

Back to basics:  Don't drink, go to meetings, read the big book, call your sponsor.

And your higher power is just waiting to hear from you and would love to help you in ways you couldn't begin to anticipate.  Just waiting!  For YOU!


Syd said...

Great message. We are keeping it simple this holiday. Just grateful for our health, loved ones, and recovery.

Elizabeth said...

What an amazing post! It encompasses so much.

I'm new to your blog and I am so really enjoying it and getting so much from it.

Thank you!

April said...

I really needed to hear this today. What a wonderful post. This is my first Christmas time sober so I am struggling with some of these very things. I am thankful though that this year I won't be the drunk girl at the holiday party vomimting the entire next morning. God is good.

Lou said...

This mean a lot to me today.

atomic momma said...

Right on!!! So many people need the wisdom of this post you wrote today.

Barbara said...

Excellent reminder to everyone. I haven't been invited to a holiday party in years, which is fine, I'm an introvert. But if I were to go to one, I would not enjoy answering certain questions. And yes, memories of past years can hurt so I try not to dwell on them.

Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mary. This will not be my first sober Christmas, but I still need to be reminded not only to keep my expectations low, but also what I THINK everyone else expects from me.

Debbi said...

Great thoughts, as always.

That post-grandchild quiet is way too quiet for me, too. We notice it most after the triplets (3-yr-old boys) have visited, but even my older grandchildren leave quite a void when they go home.

Pammie said...


Mary LA said...

Such helpful reminders I'm all in favour of low expectations and staying away from shopping malls and drunken revelry.

Ms Jones said...

As usual you hit the nail on MY head. I was having a "oh my what am I going to do?" moment this morning. You touched on a lot of them. However, after reading and a much needed meditation, I found that angst lifted. Thank you God (HP) I am a sober woman doing the best she can. He knows that am I am trying to remember that as well. Thank you MC for all you share.