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    I wrote and posted this only 6 months into my sobriety, dated 12-20-04.

    We are putting up our Christmas tree tonight. I’m a bit behind on getting it up. I have been busy lately and I’m now finding the time in getting the task done. Wow! I can hardly believe Christmas is in a few days. I’d forgotten about the twisted, tangled, string of light torture test. I barely passed that one. I may have growled a few times during the process, okay cussed. I don’t have to remind anyone how frustrating putting up lights can be. Then I remembered that things could easily be a lot worse than a few strands of tangled Christmas tree lights. My daughter is putting the finishing touches on the tree as I write this.

    Remembering back on Christmas last year, I was so sick, I could barely function. I couldn’t even help with putting up the tree. I remember watching my daughter hang ornaments with a tremendous amount of guilt and fear over what my future would hold and the mess of my life I’d created. I knew I couldn’t go on the way I had for much longer. I remember the thought like it was yesterday. What a horrible time in my life. Even though I’m not where I want to be in my life right now, I’m better off then I was then, much better off. The person I was at this time last year is merely a shadow of who I am today. Thank God for the gift of hope and life. Thank God for the power of change.

    I’m much more grounded and healthier, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Reflecting back, it is such a relief to know I’m moving forward, as opposed to barely hanging on to life. I’ll never forget that particular time in my life and will be forever grateful it remains just a bad memory, not my current reality.

    Those dark memories will help me remain sober today. As my daughter hangs the last ornament on the Christmas tree, I’m thrilled with my newfound sobriety. Hanging on the tree are two subtle reminders of where I was, and where I hope to be, symbolizing the past and the future. To those unaware, two particular objects wouldn’t stand out as anything different or special. They would meld together with the rest and not have any particular meaning.

    I bought two new Christmas ornaments this year, nothing spectacular, just a little something to celebrate my first “Sober Christmas”. I remember standing in the store pondering if I should spend the money to buy them or not. Then the idea came to me to make them special, give them meaning. So I made the decision then and there to purchase the ornaments and give each one a special meaning. One represents my past, unmanageable and full of fear and chaos. The other represents my future, open and full of hope and opportunity. Each ornament hangs parallel from one another, a gentle reminder of my struggles and the promises that lie ahead.

    Next year, and each year following, when I take the ornaments from the box, I will be reminded of their special meaning and what they represent. They will hold a special sentimental value to me, a special Christmas reminder. I’ll take the time to reflect back and count my blessings. I haven’t told my family, or children, why I bought the two ornaments, or what they represent to me. I’ve only shared it here with all of you. Someday I’ll share it with them. Perhaps they will hold a special meaning to them as well. Then maybe they’ll have a better understanding of who I am and what I’ve overcome. Maybe I can answer a few whys?

    I just wanted to take the time to share this with you. If there is someone out there reading this, who is tired and ready to give up, ready to surrender, don’t ever give up the fight. There is hope and a solution. You can make the necessary changes in your life to overcome alcoholism. If I can do it anyone can. I never thought I’d be looking back to nearly 6 months of sobriety, never in a million years. What a difference a day makes, one day at a time. I’m looking forward to the New Year. Looking forward to the promises it holds. Here’s to wishing everyone a Happy, Sober Holiday and may all your Holiday wishes come true!

    Just to set the record straight, I was sick because of my alcoholism. Since I wrote that, I have endured many challenges in life and I have gotten through them sober. Christmas comes and go and I get through each one sober. I am so very grateful for my sobriety. I just wanted to share a part of my story to remind those who are struggling that there is always hope. Never give up the fight. I thought I could never get and stay sober, but I am happy to say, I was wrong. If I can do it so can you.

    Happy Holidays!

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