Christmas Time, No Mistletoe, No Wine

Christmas day arrived and the atmosphere was surprisingly cheerful given that we were all in addiction rehab. It just goes to show that the fear of something happening is rarely ever as bad. I started my morning early, with a call to my gorgeous children who were VERY excited that Santa had been to visit. Then I called my parents, who were understandably worried how I was going to cope with the day ahead. Strangely, now it had arrived, I felt I would cope okay. My recent progression through the recovery program had instilled a sense of peace and trust in me that it was all going to be okay. I was grateful that morning and prayed for the strength to help me and the others get through the day the best we could.

My recent progression through the recovery program had instilled a sense of peace and trust in me

The morning involved preparing food for the rehab Christmas dinner. Many of us had purchased fancy dress costumes in a bid to add some cheer. Mine was a Can Can girl outfit (remember what I said previously regarding my dress sense!) Still, I had to admit it was fun. I would never have dared dress up before, drunk, let alone sober. The meal went smoothly with over a dozen of us sat down at tables in the clinic. In the evening the real fun began as we belted out songs to karaoke, played board games and watch DVDs. Later on we danced the night away to a disco, and even limbo danced improvising with a broom handle and 2 chairs! If this was recovery, then I wanted more of it. I never thought in a million years I could enjoy myself like this without a drink or a drug.

Boxing Day was quieter, with the rehab arranging for previous clients to attend to share their experience of recovery. It was amazing to hear how far these individuals had come and very reassuring to be told that there was life after alcohol and pills. I felt inspired and motivated to stay on the path of recovery and was truly grateful that they had taken the time to come away from their families to share their experience with us.

It is true what they say; take the alcohol and drugs away and you revert back to the age you started to become addicted. I felt I was embracing my teenage years again and was enjoying having late night girly chats and midnight feast with my house mates. This is something that alcohol and pills had deprived me of, my drinking and using had taken me to isolation and a very dark and lonely place that was full of shame and guilt, So much so that it had taken away my ability to look myself in the eye in the mirror, and with that my ability to look anyone else in the eye. It was going to be a long journey to become the person I wanted to be, and the thought of ever reaching a place where I could forgive myself seemed inconceivable, but as I have since learned, when you are following the 12 Step program of recovery, nothing, and I mean nothing is impossible.

I felt inspired and motivated to stay on the path of recovery.

Just after Christmas was my sons 5th birthday, and although I couldn’t be with him at home, I was determined to make the most of his visit at the weekend and spoil him. I learned a valuable lesson that day, as after opening all of his presents; he wanted nothing more than to cuddle with me, as did his sister. I felt conflicting feelings of over overwhelming love and guilt as I breathed in the scent of their hair and skin; I wanted time to stand still, and from the tearful goodbyes it was evident that they only wanted the same. My children were too young to understand the concept of rehab and addiction, so we told them I was in a hospital to treat my sadness. They had seen me crumble over the past few months; rarely had a day gone by when I wouldn’t shed a tear through fear and despair. I had been emotionally distant at best. No matter how hard it was to say goodbye at the end of visits, I knew I had to get well. Not every child that is born to an addict or alcoholic is abused or neglected physically, mine were well cared for in every physical aspect, but I had been guilty of emotional neglect. Even though I frequently cuddled and told them I loved them, there was little feeling in me linking me to those words. I told them because they needed to hear it, and I needed to say it, but we both deserved the whole package. I yearned to feel love and to feel loved. For the children’s father and me it was too late, too much hurt and pain, but for children it is rarely ever too late. It is my belief that within every man, woman and child, there is a deep yearn to be loved and cherished. As an alcoholic and an addict, I was unable to accept, give or feel love, yet wanted it so desperately that it hurt. This alone is without a doubt, the biggest reward that recovery has given me today, the ability to love and the ability to feel loved.

Next: A Journey Through Rehab – Week Ten