An Alcohol Free Holiday Season

Christmas, as usual, passed by as quickly as it arrived. It was a beautiful holiday—really, any holiday is amazing when Lila is by my side. Her birthday is on Christmas Eve—she turned six years old. We properly celebrated her birthday on December 14, when we hosted a party for her and her friends at a local establishment called Petro-glyphs. Essentially the kids get to choose a ceramic item to paint, and once they finish painting, the establishment places the ceramic pieces in an oven and they turn out all pretty and glossy. I’m not much of an artist—but the kids seemed to have a good time.

One of the most surprising aspects of the party was that Priscilla, Lila’s mother, and I were able to work together well. She made the reservations and ordered the cake—while I picked up the food, balloons, drinks and utensils. We didn’t argue once, and everyone had a good time. Thank Jesus—it’s a miracle!

I worked on Christmas Eve—as I was sick the week before with the flu, and had to take a few days off of work. The flu is an evil son of a bitch that I wish would transform into an actual human for three seconds so I could slap the crap out of it. My temperature shot up to 103.8 at one point—but for some reason I was freezing cold. Perplexing.

Anyways, I picked up Lila after work on Christmas Eve and we proceeded to watch both Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Lila loved them both, and for me, it brought me back in time and almost made me feel like a kid again. We were eating junk food, laughing and quoting the movie. “Keep the change you filthy animal!” Lila loved that line.

Once Lila went to bed on Christmas Eve—I put her presents under our fake Christmas tree, and ate the cookies that she left for Santa. When we were picking out the cookies, she initially wanted to get oatmeal—however I told her that Santa prefers chocolate. So, we opted to get the double chocolate chip cookies. Lila and I also made a ginger-bread house—which Santa ate too. He must’ve been hungry from delivering all of those toys.

I checked on Lila, and she was sleeping peacefully. It was precious. I sat down on the couch and starting thinking about the past few Christmases.

In 2012, I think I spent Christmas over at Katie’s mom/dads house—which was a joyous occasion. We drank and ate food. I actually drank and ate a lot. I remember being worried that we wouldn’t have beer at home once we left so I snuck a few beers out of her mom/dads fridge and placed them in our bag.  They always bought the Costco sampler pack. When I used to drink heavily, even as I was drinking, I would be worried about running out of alcohol. I always found ways to sneak getting alcohol into our routine—and some-times I could feel the tension when I would say “I’m stopping by the store.” At a certain point I just didn’t care. I was going to drink, and no one will stop me. I deserved to drink—I work so hard as a parent and employee—it’s my right to fill my body with alcohol.

Thinking back, it was such a pitiful way to live. Killing myself and justifying it every step of the way—I had a talent for making the irrational, rational…at least in my own mind.

In 2013, Katie, Lila and I went to Pennsylvania to visit my family. I was over-weight, dealing with some Rosacea and had a serious attitude problem. It was nice to see my family—but I felt so uncomfortable the whole time. My parents love to drink—I mean love to drink…especially my mother. Her and I shared a lot of the same tendencies. I tried to contain my drinking for the first day or so—but on the second day of the trip I let everyone see my real routine. At about 1pm, I would crack a beer—and not stop drinking until the beer was gone. I think my mother enjoyed having a drinking buddy because every-night we got drunk.

At that point in Katie and I’s relationship I didn’t really enjoy being around her—and I don’t think she cared for me either. Frankly, she gave me anxiety. I did, and still do love her with all of my heart—however, it was a bad time in my life. I was struggling. I remember her crying to my mother about how I didn’t show affection—and I remember her yelling at me for sleeping on the couch instead of with her in bed. It’s hard to explain—but I was so riddled with anxiety constantly, unless I was drinking, that I just never felt comfortable. I always felt sick. It wasn’t Katie that was the problem—it was me. I feel terrible for pushing her away like I did because it was wrong on so many levels.

The trip back to PA was a turning point in my relationship with Katie—and when I really started understanding I have a problem. In every picture from the trip home I was either holding a beer, or had that absurd drunk nothingness look on my face. I was drinking away whatever pain existed in my body—making myself numb while neglecting to see the beauty around me. The end of 2013 and early 2014 were the worst parts of my life.

Christmas of 2014, though lonely at times, was wonderful. I was too busy to even think about drinking—and I didn’t have a continuous panic attack. I sure do miss Katie—but what the heck–she’s probably having a great time not having to deal with a drunkard. It’s a true win-win because I too am happy not to be dealing with the person I became.

I spoke with my father today, and we discussed the possibility of me purchasing a little condo in 2016 that Lila and I can call home. If I keep working hard, and stay out of the bottle—I can accomplish so much. I can now make the people in my life proud of me—as opposed to feeling pity. I still have a lot to work on, but doesn’t every person? I am ok with who I am, and am so grateful that alcohol is no longer hiding my true potential.

I’m really excited about what 2015 has to bring for Lila and I, and anyone who reads this as well.

Always keep your head-up, and accept that you’ll have bad days—but also realize that for every bad day, there are many more good ones. Don’t sweat the small stuff—and lets’ continue being the best people we can possibly be.

From my family to yours—happy holiday, new year and best of luck in all that you do.

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