Well, I made it through the trip I was dreading without a drink. There was some drama, but I handled it without getting emotional and I did have fun with my partner’s family. I won’t lie, there were a couple of times when I really wanted a drink, but I didn’t give in.
The holiday season is so filled with expectations and forced interactions with family…it’s no wonder it’s one of the toughest times of the year for people who are trying to be sober. One of my big triggers is guilt, and there’s a steady supply of it at this time of the year. If you come from a dysfunctional family like I did, life is like a 24-hour diner serving heaping helpings of regrets and guilt all day long. I grew up being told I was selfish. My mom was not equipped to be a mom, and on some level, I think having children took away attention that she wanted for herself. I was selfish for not attending to her emotional needs. Of course, as a child, I didn’t know that she wasn’t supposed to depend on me for her emotional needs, so I grew up believing that I was selfish and that other people’s emotional state was my responsibility. So now as an adult, guilt trips can send me into a tailspin of self-destructive thought patterns. Sometimes I put the guilt trips on myself without any help from anyone else, that’s how internalized they were when I was growing up.
It’s no surprise that the holiday season makes me a little crazy. It’s also no surprise that when I try to alter situations to make things easier for myself, I hear my inner voice telling me how selfish I’m being. A big part of being sober for me is learning to identify this lie when it rears its head. It was beating me up pretty good before I left for this trip, as evidenced by my last post. I’m learning that it’s all connected. My drinking brain tells me a lot of the same stuff that I got from my mom.
I am learning to identify the lies my drinking brain tells me and replace them with other more beneficial things like gratitude. I’ve been sober for almost 4 months, and sometimes I forget how much better I feel and how I’ve started doing things for myself that I never would have done while I was drinking. I have made it this far and I am not looking back. I believe that through this journey, I will learn to love myself.