I love Christmas Eve. When I was growing up, my family life was pretty idyllic. Things eventually went south, but while I was a child, we had everything we needed. My parents were loving. My Dad would stomp around on the roof on Christmas Eve, after we went to bed, jingling bells so we would think it was the reindeer landing on our roof. He would nibble the carrots we left for the reindeer and eat almost all the cookies for Santa. We believed. We felt loved, my brother and I. It’s that childhood anticipation of a cozy morning around the tree, opening gifts and drinking hot chocolate in our flannel PJs, that sticks with me today. I love that feeling of looking forward to sharing joyful moments with my loved ones.
Things have been different with my family for most of my adult life, as addiction ravaged my brother, and through their codependence, my parents. Most of the time, spending time with them drives me straight into several glasses of wine and I feel a tightness in my chest that I can’t shake for hours. But this year things shifted. My brother, 7 months sober, was there and was warm, coherent, and loving. Everyone was relaxed. No one was drinking and the atmosphere was jovial. I actually enjoyed myself and didn’t feel stressed. It was like a miracle. I didn’t feel like I needed a drink when I got home. Instead, my husband and I exchanged one gift, had some tea, and I’m heading straight for bed.
Each day I feel a little better, although one symptom of what I can only imagine is a detox symptom is that I’ll notice from time to time my eyes feel glassy and almost thick, for lack of a better word. It’s such a strange sensation and it comes and goes. I feel pretty exhausted and worn out by company after a couple hours. But it’s okay. Having done so many restarts, I’m familiar with the feelings I go through at this stage. What I am looking forward to is seeing what it looks like after 32 days and beyond. I’m finally starting to believe all you sober people that it really is better, and I can’t wait to find out.
Merry Christmas, everyone!