My First Sober Holiday Season with the Ghosts of Christmas Past

There is a classic film called “A Christmas Carol” from 1951 that was adapted from the Charles Dickens book. At some point in your life, you have likely read the book or seen one of the many film or stage adaptations. I’ve been thinking about my sobriety in the context of that movie as I start my first sober Holiday Season.

Put simply, in the film “A Christmas Carol” Ebenezer Scrooge does not believe in Christmas, kind of like I didn’t believe in sobriety. Scrooges’ life is about work and the acquisition of wealth and as far as he is concerned that is far nobler than any ideal of compassion, community, or generosity, even in the spirit of Christmas. Scrooge is miserable but sees his misery as a condition of life, not a result of greed. For many years leading up to my stopping drinking, I was similarly in denial. I could not be bothered to even entertain the idea that alcohol was causing so much dis-ease in my life. I was always shooing away any indication that my drinking might be thwarting my perception of the things and the people around me. Hiding my bottles and pushing my friends and family away was very Scrooge-like. Dark, greedy, self-centered, and resentful – “Just leave me alone with my alcohol!!”  – was my thought whenever anyone tried to challenge me.

The day almost one year ago, that my husband came to me and said things needed to change, was like the beginning of Scrooge’s story, when the ghost of his old friend Jacob Marley visits him. Marley is a terrifying apparition, wandering the earth entwined by heavy chains and money boxes forged during a lifetime of greed and selfishness. He tells Scrooge that he has a single chance to avoid the same fate. But Marley’s voice alone is not enough to convince Scrooge that lasting change is needed. Marley is the advance man, who lets Scrooge know that he will be visited that night by three spirits. Spirits who will help him understand how he needs to change in order to not suffer Marley’s fate, but rather to release his soul from the Earth when his time comes.  

I needed to change in order to release my soul from the hopeless, resentful, dull gray space where my drinking kept me trapped, and like Ebenezer, I needed a bit more convincing. I didn’t want to look at my life and how alcohol was ruling it. In my mind I was fine. It was the onlookers who had the problem as they didn’t truly understand my troubles. I needed to drink and I could handle it.

The three ghosts who famously visit Scrooge are the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas future. Each one in turn shows Ebineezer a vision of himself. Scrooge as he once was, Scrooge as he is seen by others in his present life, and Scrooge as he could become if he doesn’t change his ways. Those ghosts that visited Scrooge? Well, they visited me too in the months following my husband’s ultimatum.

In my first months sober…

The ghost of Sobriety’s Past showed herself to me in visions of my life as a carefree child. So many fun and exciting memories long before my first drink colored my world numb!! Getting the alcohol out of my life and gaining some sober momentum helped me reconnect with that innocent child.

The ghost of Sobriety’s Present visited me also and brought visions of those whom I cannot see, perhaps they are talking nicely about me as those who knew Scrooge and appreciated him, even though he was mean and self-centered. I realized when I stopped drinking that my impressions of what others thought about me had been distorted and overblown. The ghost of sobriety’s present reminds me that while sinking deeper into alcohol dependence I had forgotten to love and trust people.

The ghost of Sobriety’s Future regularly presents herself to me. She shows me what my future will be like if I return to the path of daily alcohol consumption. She shows me the train wreck that I will create if I’m not able to stay sober.  The shunning of me by my family and friends, the devastation that will befall me if I go back to drinking like I have contemplated so many times. It’s scary and sad, and perhaps like Scrooge, I will visit my own tombstone. 

Choosing to stay sober no matter what challenges my first Sober Holiday Season may hold, is obviously the right move when I look at it through Ebenezer’s eyes. As I wake in my own bed this December morning, as Scrooge did after his visit from the three ghosts, I am compelled to do the right thing!  I am compelled to live for today, love for today, and be sober for today!

Maneuvering the holiday season sober can feel like an Olympic event! In a world where alcohol is the only drug that people will question you for NOT using and abusing – it’s great to have a team at your side.  Come hang out with us in our BOOM Rethink the Drink community.

We’re Thawing Out the Fear of Sober, with a bit of humor and lots of great ideas in this Sober Toolbox to Power Your Will

Make This the Week That Your Sobriety Takes Off

We are an independent, anonymous, and private community who share resources, support, and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

You can read more about us Here  And join  Here

More for your Sober Tool Box :

HALT – 4 Triggers That Slip People Up When They Stop Drinking

Last year some of our long term members shared their “Alcohol-Free Holiday Season” experience for our Boozemusings Blog Archive.  

Here are some of those posts to Inspire you in this Sober Holiday Season

It’s a Gift Pack of Inspiration to Help You Keep Going

 The Key to Alcohol-Free Holiday Serenity

A Sober Girls Guide to the Festive Season and Christmas Freedom!

When You’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired – How to Say No to Alcohol in The Party Season

Creating New Holiday Traditions Joyfully Sober

From Resentment to Joy – Reaching Out as I Begin my 3rd Alcohol-Free Holiday Season

Why I Chose Sobriety – The Magic of my First Sober Christmas

Evolving From my First Sober Christmas – Anger, Nature & Miracles

A Sober Girls Guide to the Festive Season and Christmas Freedom!

Grateful for the Simple Gift of Sobriety in my Second Alcohol-Free Holiday Season

Staying Sober? Tips to Help Celebrate the Holiday Season Alcohol-Free

Tips and Tools and Great Alcohol-Free Drinks to Celebrate the Holidays Sober

Yes You Can

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