I got sober in October and Thanksgiving was my first holiday without alcohol. I went to an AA meeting every day then and on the Wednesday before, I listened to a man with some years of sobriety talk about how he always volunteered to work on holidays. He didn’t do it so that others could celebrate although that was a nice side effect, he said. No, he did it because it was safer for him than celebrating. Why? Because it made Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s Eve into just another day of sobriety. He didn’t need things to be special. He needed them to be ordinary.
It’s been 29 years since I heard that man speak and I’ve never forgotten it. And as a food addict, I find his words especially important. I need Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s to be ordinary food days: three meals of moderate quantities of safe, healthy foods. I don’t need to put myself in harm’s way with parties and buffets and food extravaganzas. That doesn’t work well for me. I’ve learned to attend other kinds of events: concerts, for example. I’ve learned to host other kinds of gatherings: tea and poetry readings, game nights. Events that don’t involve food.
How will you protect your abstinence this holiday season?