Years ago, while my alcoholism was still in “active” mode, special occasions were drinking occasions. Holidays were especially so, although toward the end . . . so were Tuesdays and evenings, and getting up to use the bathroom at night.
Halloween, New Year’s Eve . . . the occasions were endless.
So here we are, on the cusp of another big drinking event – the Super Bowl. I know nothing of football, have no interest in it, and couldn’t tell a field goal from a home-run (wait . . . that’s wrong, isn’t it?) but I have been to many, many Super Bowl parties over the years because there was always drinking. And I was interested in drinking.
These special occasions became very confusing to me when I got into recovery. It was not until I moved into true acceptance that I could understand it.
No more drinking . . .
Not on major holidays (or minor ones) nor on Super Bowl Sunday. Not at my child’s wedding or on vacation in the Caribbean. Not even once.
But what initially felt like big, red “X”’s on the calendar became a series of events that gave me an opportunity to gain clarity, and to enjoy life to the fullest and remember it all.
It’s now been more than 14 years now since I’ve had a single drink on any occasion – special or otherwise (all glory to God, one day at a time) and the irony is that sobriety makes every day a special occasion. It sounds cornball, I know. But every day in recovery reminds me of all the things I don’t miss from those days of addiction.
It might feel as if “society” expects drinking on Superbowl Sunday . . . but that’s really just your disease talking. Not everyone pairs celebrations with alcohol – my alcoholic thinking led me to believe they are intertwined.
You have to let go of something in order to grasp something better. I let go of the association to grab a hold of hope. I let go of hangovers and shame, and gained so much more.
Peaceful relationships – even the relationship with myself.
Much less drama.
Clarity to know what I did and said, and how I behaved the next day. Because the next day always comes, and it doesn’t have to be shameful.
Health that is being restored, mentally, physically and spiritually.
As it turns out, it’s not about what is going on around me, but about being okay in my own skin wherever that might be … whatever date might be on the calendar.
No matter which team bats a thousand in the Superbowl.
Recovery is the most special occasion of them all.
Jana Greene is a Jesus freak, wife, mother, recovering alcoholic, author and blogger at http://thebeggarsbakery.com. In 2001, she surrendered her will to Jesus and is still surrendering it on a daily basis. She writes to let others know where to find the Bread of Life. She lives with her husband, daughters and kitty cats in North Carolina.