Last year I went white water rafting with my daughter and my running buddy.  It was a great trip.  My pal, John, owns a small motor home, and we drove through the mountains of Tennessee in comfort.  I had never ridden in a motor home before, so it was a first, and it was fun.

We got to the Ocoee Rafting Company ready to battle the rapids.  It was summer, but it wasn’t a very nice day.  It was cold and rainy.  We figured, who cares, we were going to get wet anyway.

We were assigned a raft, loaded into a van, and went down to the “put in” spot.  Prior to “putting in” we sat in the raft, and received a lesson in paddling commands.

All forward;  all paddle forward.

All back; all paddle back

Left turn; the left side of the boat paddles

Right turn: the right side of the boat paddles

Over right; everyone in the boat gets on the right side

Over left; everyone in the boat gets on the left side

Get down; get to the bottom of the boat, quickly

I feel like I have been adrift in this raft throughout this holiday season.

We made the plans to be in Florida close to 18 months ago.  At the time, neither of my children were living at home, and I was actively drinking large quantities of wine every night.  It sounded awesome, sign me up, fun in the sun, drinking in bars and on the beach!  Boo yah!

Then in November of 2013, I was struck, by who knows what, and decided it was time to give up alcohol, and get sober.

Last year’s holiday season was s struggle.  I think I was unknowingly going through PAWS, and the holiday’s were hard, really, really hard.

This year I thought, been there, done that.I wasn’t cocky, still vigilant, but here comes the holiday season, easy peasy, right?

Wrong.  My son moved home, my mother is dying, and I am in Florida, with my husband and a pile of regrets.

December has been difficult.  I have been filled with guilt about my son being alone for Christmas, and not being in Missouri with my mother, as this may be her last Christmas.

I didn’t think any of this through thoroughly enough to remember to pack the small Christmas tree.  Therefore, no decorations. There is no cold weather.  Christmas lights in palm trees just don’t give off that Christmasy feeling.  There was no Bailey’s on Christmas Eve, and no red wine with the Christmas roast.

I have hopped into this raft, and have been paddling like mad to keep from hitting all the obstacles the have been placed in the way.

Paddling forward, getting up each morning and trying to be in the NOW.

Paddling backward, resetting my brain every time it drags me into my pile of guilt, or sadness over where I am NOT, instead of where I am.

Hopping to the left side to avoid the Christmas Eve Bailey’s craving.  Hopping to the right to get around the longing for red wine to have with the roast.

I feel like I am in the bottom of the boat every day when I wake up here in Florida, and not in my own home.  I lie there, take a mental inventory and remind myself that I have a lot to be grateful for.  I give myself a mental slap, and go through the list.

I am here, I am sober, I managed to remain sober through a difficult Christmas, and my son was fine being on his own.My mother spent the holiday with my brother and his family, she had a great time.

I have so much to be grateful for, and if I keep my thoughts in the present, I can make it through another day, where I continuously remind myself that relaxing is not supposed to be so much work.



  1. what a great analogy! and good for you for getting through the holiday sober despite the feelings of discontentment. it was my first sober Christmas and i am still wondering why i am doing this. but i guess my heart and mind just knows that i need this. a big kudos for you!

    • Hi Cheryl,
      I am so happy you made it through Christmas sober. Never an easy task. Good for you. I frequently think that if we have gone through all the work to get sober there must be a reason, we know it, deep down inside. It is admitting to it that is difficult.
      The holiday season is hard with all the relapses that happen, but good for you for getting through!
      Happy New Sober Year!

  2. You don’t sound bratty at all! Can you go home? Do you HAVE to stay in FL? If you’re unhappy and struggling can you go home and be among your comforts?

    What I’ve learned in sobriety is to listen to what I need and not only ask for it, but demand it if necessary. I used to have a tendency to play the martyr card, “No…it’s okay…I’ll be fine…don’t worry about me.” Ugh…I get on my own nerves just typing that. (and please know that I am not assuming you are doing this…I’m just saying that’s how I acted.)

    I hope you’re feeling better soon. I hate to see you struggling.

    Remember how much you’re loved. Merry Christmas and here’s to a serenely sober new year!


    • No going home. It would be worse than being here if I tried that. Loss of rental money, fight with husband, etc. Yes I am being a bit of a martyr. I am the person that goes on vacation but just wants to be home. It always sounds great in the planning stages.
      I am going to meetings. Learning how to use the fancy camera, running a ton, and working on learning to embrace change.
      Home has challenges too. My son is still living there, which isn’t a problem but it is. It is time for his life to begin, but that means a real job which has been elusive.
      So…there is that too.

      • Girl! You sound so much like me it’s not even funny!!! I do the same damn thing when I go on vacation. If I’m honest with myself, I’d say staying home is my thing but I let other people and my own idea of what I should be doing influence me and then I’m on vacay thinking…dang…I’d rather be home.

        I get what you mean with you son too. I remember when our daughter came home after being on her own for a while after college, all of a sudden there were just too many “grown-ups” in the house. Doesn’t mean I don’t love her, it’s just that the nest was getting too small.

        Keep doing what you’re doing an keep writing. I love to hear about how you’re coping and what’s keeping you busy…gives me some great ideas.

        i.e. I want one of those cameras. 😉


  3. Christmas can be so stressful with all of the unrealistic expectations we succomb to. I’m with ainsobriety in reminding each of us to be gentle with ourselves. Perhaps simply having a fairly decent day while remaining strong in our sobriety is actually quite acceptable.

  4. This is beautiful post! Thank you it was just what I needed to read right now. Life can be thoug but there is always something to be grateful for, and even what seems like the smallest of things, like your daily run photos surly can bring some needed joy – thank you!. You’re doing so good, even if it doesn’t feel like it at times. Hugs.

  5. I like your post. Others really think and feel like me. Incredible given I’ve always believed Im so different. Your honesty is refreshing. 😊hugs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s