Home for the Holidays?


As the holidays approach, so does my anxiety.  For most of my life, holidays with family meant too much to drink by one or more family members.  While Mom was trying to make each holiday the perfect Norman Rockwell event, the focus of other family members was tending bar and making sure no one had an empty glass.

As the booze flowed, so did the emotions.  Disappointment that once again the holiday wasn’t perfect.  Anger over long ago perceived slights.  Removing oneself from the argument that was simmering and ready to boil over.

More than one holiday was a less than stellar celebration and family event.  The day might end with shouting, crying, drunk relatives or it might end just fine.

As I became older and had my own family, I became aware of the role that alcohol was playing in the holiday celebrations.   I was faced with the dilemma of going to the family home for the celebration and all that may happen or creating my own traditions.  I was also becoming more aware of the role that alcohol was playing in my own life.  I discovered that if I was around those who were drinking too much, I also drank too much. This should not have surprised me, but it did.

So I made a tough decision. I decided that going home for the holidays was not necessarily the right decision for me and my family.  I started to create my own traditions;  going way for the weekend, staying home with my immediate family or going to friends’ homes where drinking had less of a focus.

As the holidays roll around again this year, my anxiety is less than previous years for several reasons.  The first is my commitment to not drink too much myself.  The focus for me is on enjoying family time and that wasn’t happening when others, including myself, drank too much.  The second is to have Thanksgiving with my family in a neutral location.  We are going away this Thanksgiving with Mom and will not have to engage with family members that have caused stress and drama in previous years.  The third and perhaps primary reason is that I have taken control over my decisions.  No longer am I manipulated or pressured into being an environment that I know is not healthy.  It has taken me years to get to this point, but it sure feels good!

If you are sober and feeling vulnerable over the holidays, please click the link below for ideas on how to help you stay sober during this time of year.


We all need a little help now and then, so if this time of year is difficult for you, please reach out to us at www.nicasa.org

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nicasa’s Mission and Vision

Mission: Nicasa empowers and promotes healthy lifestyles to prevent and treat substance abuse, addiction, and other risky behaviors.

Vision: Nicasa will be the premier behavioral and social health services organization for individuals, families, and communities in northern Illinois and beyond.


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