For those of us in sobriety, the holidays are a chance to show our gratitude. What happens once a year for most people is the manner of living we claim as our own. Service to God and our fellows is how we demonstrate that our spiritual life is not a theory.
One Day at a Time
If it’s your first sober holiday, you might be feeling some anxiety or discomfort. There’s a lot of parties and a lot of booze flying around – sometimes at work or at family functions.
- You don’t have to go. It probably feels like you do, but remember feelings aren’t facts. If you’re fearful or feel like you might drink – stay home. Next year it will be different. Amazing but true – the party will go on without you.
- If you want to go, take someone with you. Invite a sober friend, preferably someone with more time than you. Talk to your sponsor before you go.
- Get your own drinks. Ask about the punch before your drink it. Pull the caterer aside and tell then you are deathly allergic to alcohol and need a heads up.
- Go late, leave early. Always have a way to leave that isn’t dependent on someone else.
Humility for the Holidays
The holidays get hectic – so easy to get swept up in the shopping, the running, the craziness. So not what it’s supposed to be about. It’s about giving…without thought of attention or reward.
There are lots of people in AA who have no family, for one reason or another. They won’t get presents, they won’t be going anywhere. What if each one of us decided to do something about that? If you’ve ever been forgotten, you know how it feels to be remembered.
- Why not practice your holiday humility with a secret Santa drop-off?
- Go to the Dollar Store and buy a bunch of candy and some little bows. Pass them out to everyone who’s helped you.
- Get a sweater for someone who trudges. Give away Christmas socks.
- Give out grocery gift cards. Coupons for movie tickets.
- Call someone whose number you have but never call. Ask how they’re doing and listen to the answer.
- Go out of your way – to give a ride, to listen, to smile, to welcome someone.
The Big Gesture
You don’t need to be grandiose. But here’s the thing, if you are in a position to do something big – now’s the time for it. What might be easy for you to do can be a miracle for someone else.
Make someone’s car payment, pay someone’s rent, bundle up all your gift cards and give them to someone. Tip a waitress $100 on breakfast. Give someone some frequent flyer miles or hotel points.