It’s that time of year again when everything goes slightly nuts and the world turns a little bit Technicolor. Christmas can be overwhelming for many people, for a myriad of different reasons. Personally I have struggled with the festive period in the past because I was a single parent and had to share my daughter with her Dad on Christmas Day, because I went wild in the drinks department (more than usual) and got even more hammered than my standard level of drunkenness, and because I suffered worse consequences as a result of being more sozzled than normal for much of the holidays.
Being drunk and then hungover, and having to deal with the associated mood swings in between, rendered me completely unable to be content with life’s simple pleasures. I was forever searching for happiness, but was unable to find it when in the grip of alcohol. I therefore turned to increasingly inconsequential means in my efforts to locate that elusive state of mind; retail therapy when I had no need for new stuff (and could ill afford new stuff) romantic dalliances that kept me enthralled by their complicatedness and emotional rollercoaster turbulence, radical life changing decisions, the list goes on…
What I did not have when I regularly drank alcohol, was an appreciation of the simple things in life, of what is truly of worth in our little worlds. I have spoken to many people who have given up drinking and who have since enjoyed similar moments of wonder at seemingly banal things; watching the rising sun, waking up feeling healthy and full of energy, seeing flowers in bloom bursting with colours never noticed before. What those people all have in common is the experiencing of an almost evangelical awakening in the weeks and months after ditching alcohol, when suddenly they are filled with a sense of clarity; life becomes obvious; it all falls into place.
As time goes on, this awareness grows stronger and stronger in me; I just know what I want, who I am and what life is all about. I understand me, I get it. And no time is it more prevalent than at Christmas when it can appear that all around you are losing their heads in a sea of alcohol.
For me, it has become wonderfully apparent that the next couple of weeks are about my two gorgeous girls having a special and happy time surrounded by their family who adore them, having more time than usual to spend with my other half, sharing delicious food and having a good laugh together. It’s about appreciating everything that we have, remembering people who aren’t so lucky, and trying to do something for them too.