Ah Christmas. Not really a time one would think too much of Eric, Stan, Kyle, Butters, and of course, 'Oh my God, they killed Kenny!' (Sorry I couldn't remember the little girl's name) One would probably also not expect the gang to show up plastered all over the window of a pub at Christmas time no less, but here they are in all their glory...so if indeed you are a South Park fan, Merry Christmas, if not just ignore those first few lines and read the damn post will you...
Christmas for me has always been a holiday I have never really enjoyed. When I was a child as there were five kids in the family, it just didn't come across as anything special in our family -to me that is.... Now I'm fairly certain my brothers and sisters will and do have differing opinions and that's all fine and good. This post though is not about that.
The Christmas season, six years ago probably not to the day yet pretty darn close, I was on or had just started the worst and the last alcoholic bender of my life. It would still be another excruciatingly long five months before I entered the treatment program that was so painfully overdue for me. This was the bender of all benders, for sure. I had always disappeared around Christmas for a week or so because I had come to despise the holiday so. It did change a bit when my daughter was born as I was trying to make the holiday special for her yet after her mother and I split up, well it did take a back seat for me again. The bender though seemed to be part and parcel with the holiday for me.
This final time was one that lasted much longer than a week this time. I am still uncertain if I was trying to kill myself or not. For all intents and purposes the entire thing, more of a blur than anything else. Thankfully so, I think. Sometimes I want to remember all the little bits and pieces just so to have the information as to why I did do what I did then, so as not to ever repeat such nonsense. Then of course I give my head a shake and realize knowing that information would do me absolutely no good whatsoever.
During this bender to end all benders, the one that did finally get me evicted from my place and leave me homeless, I drank non-stop for I believe three months. It really is a wonder to me I didn't wake up dead. Some mornings mind you, I certainly did feel that way. Waking up in 'the sobering centre' was certainly preferable to the drunk tank, yet still very disconcerting. The first time this happened I had no clue as to where I was, none. It really was frightening, to not have any idea where you are or how you got there. To have to try and sneak out without being seen because you did not where you were or how you got there or even if you were supposed to be where it was you didn't know you were? The first time of course being the worst because you were unaware there was no way you could leave this building without going through the staff first, it simply couldn't be done. Plus, they had all your stuff if you were lucky enough to have not been robbed before being brought in to 'sleep it off.' When the police drop you off here, (completely their discretion, if you're being a dick when they pick you up-yer goin' to the drunk tank!) but much the same as the tank, they take all your possessions, wallet, shoes and shoelaces, (not that you have much use for laces without the shoes) backpack that contains your booze if the police haven't already confiscated that, everything in your pockets, all your jewelry, they even took my gum.
The next thing is you get a shitty mattress (much better than the concrete bed in the tank) a thin blanket, and a crappy pillow and left to your own devices until such a time as you sober up enough to worm your way to the reception desk to meekly inquire as to where you are and how it is you got there? I believe I ended up at the sobering centre six or seven times over the course of this final three months of drinking myself stupid. Each time before I was allowed to leave I got the speech as to how to make my life better, treatment that was available, etc. All of which I knew better of course... So in reality this does relate somewhat to South Park because of the stupidity of it all...
Why am I telling you all this you may be asking yourself? Now that you've gotten this far in and have committed yourself to finish reading hopefully, I shall tell you.
Now these are much more pleasant Christmas images, don't you think? I guess the truth of the matter now is, I really do enjoy the Christmas season again. Becoming sober, that first Christmas was well, sobering. It was not a pleasant experience simply because I was in a city I hated, in a treatment centre I really did not want to be in at Christmas, but I had indeed made a commitment- to myself and no one else, that I was going to see this thing through for myself no matter how damn painful it became. Sure enough I did and the next Christmas wasn't quite so bad, then the next and the next, they got better...slowly it became something I enjoyed. I was helping others get through their own issues with the season. Whether it was because of addiction, no family to speak of, depression at the thought of the season, whatever, it didn't matter.
I choose to work through the holidays just to further this agenda. With the exception of last year (because I deserved a break) I have worked every Christmas since becoming sober. No regrets, I have been able to feed the homeless a few of those years and am now actually serving Christmas dinner this year at an old folks home here in town. A little different for me, after the last three weeks of catering a ridiculous amount of Christmas parties all over this city, I will be covering some holiday shifts for a co-worker so they in turn can spend this holiday season with their family for the first time in ten years.
Then of course, as per the norm for me-for us, I will spend some time with my little girl, that as you all know is not a girl any longer, after the holiday is done.
Some may say this is not the ideal Christmas, yet for us- it is, and to be honest, I don't think I would want it any other way.
On that note, I wish you all the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest in the New Year!!