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This is one of the most difficult letters I’ve written. I’ve started it countless times, searched for the perfect opening sentence, only to hit the delete button on my computer and start over again. The holidays are here. (Pause) What do I say, I ask myself? How do I talk about alcohol addiction and the holidays in a meaningful way? What can I do to provide some encouragement and help to overcome the many temptations those struggling with alcohol addiction face at this time of year?
I can only imagine the pressures you will encounter. Attending holiday parties where everyone is drinking and you know you can’t. Or the family gatherings that often exacerbate difficult or unhealthy relationships that bring you additional anxiety and depression and the chance you may relapse. Then there are the intense workplace demands at the end of year. They come with stress and the rush to finish projects and clear the calendar before the New Year. Will you turn to alcohol as an escape from the constant deadlines? And how about all the holiday memories of times past where family or friends got together to celebrate the season and rekindle relationships, but those are gone now. Friends have moved away, scattered to different corners of the country and your brothers and sisters have families of their own and responsibilities to fulfill and you’re all alone.
The holidays are difficult enough for those whose lives aren’t affected or touched by alcohol. But not only do you have to endure all the pressures and demands that come with the holidays, you have to overcome all the constant temptations to drink. The never ending holiday toasts, the television commercials, and the taverns and favorite watering holes decorated to the nines with familiar holiday music playing and the neon signs in the windows inviting you in to enjoy your favorite beverage.
Yes, I can only imagine what it must be like. But if I found myself in your shoes and I was contending with these constant reminders, I’d say to myself but look how far I have come. Everyday is a new day and everyday I make progress. There are times I struggle and there are times I feel this deep sense of pride and relief that I am learning to believe in myself, to trust myself, to love myself, and to move forward with my life.
In closing, I wish each of you the happiest of holidays and may tomorrow bring you the peace and comfort of recovery, which you so richly deserve.
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