Happy You, Happy 2017

The thing that really used to drag me down at Christmas was the picture perfect, stereotypical image of what this time of year was all about. It was the beautiful house sitting in a snow-filled garden, sparkling with fairy lights, so inviting. It was the magical relationship, the big, warm family, the presents, the parties, the not feeling different and on the edge of what everyone else apparently had and took for granted. It was acceptance, and being loved – feeling loved and immersed in a busy, fulfilled life.

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And because for many Christmases I didn’t feel any of the above, I would drink myself stupid. From mid-December to January 1st all bets would be off as I anaesthetised myself from the tornado of emotional hurt that I could never stand to feel.

When I consider what has changed now, what it is in my life, or about me, that prevents me from seeking mental obliteration in order to just make it through the festive season, I think it’s this; I am simply OK with my lot. I don’t mind that I don’t fit that ideal we are sold by the tidal wave of consumerism all year round but especially during the run up to Christmas. I don’t mind that I might not have a family that slots neatly into the 2.4 children, husband and wife model. I don’t mind that a few years ago I drank rather a lot and had my share of problems. I don’t mind that my house is not a series of showrooms complete with matching dinner sets and stylish soft furnishings.

I am me. And that’s fine.

Letting go of the desire to be what other people might expect or want me to be has been a major part of allowing myself to finally be happy. That desire is what used to send me half mad and heading to the bottle for a reliable escape from the inevitable pressures. I remember on countless New Year’s Eves feeling inadequate because I wasn’t living the high life, attending incredible parties, looking perfect and able to control my alcohol consumption. And because I couldn’t achieve those self-imposed, ridiculous standards, I would drink. And drink. And drink. And then hate myself some more.

As New Year’s Eve looms large, I’m sure there are people everywhere crucifying themselves for not ‘having it all’. And to those people, I would say this; you do have it all. You have your life, and a whole new year ahead of you with no mistakes yet in it; a blank slate ripe for the taking, a fresh sheet of paper on which to create the life you want, one that fits you and not the rest of the world.

If you want to stay at home on December 31st because you don’t really like parties and socialising in large groups, that’s fine – stay in, watch a film, have a bath, have an early night. If you are feeling sad for whatever reason and can’t face plastering a smile on your face, just be sad. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. If you’ve only recently stopped drinking and can’t bear the thought of watching everyone, everywhere, getting hammered on alcohol then avoid it all. Do something different, choose to indulge yourself in whatever it is that makes you happy. Buck the trend.

Because in the end, the thing that will make you like yourself the most, is giving yourself permission to be you; to stop chipping away at the essence of whom you are, striving to meet the expectations of others instead of just being; to accept that you have your quirks and perfect imperfections but to love these and know you’re special, exactly how you are.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be unforgiving times, but reclaiming yourself, accepting who you are, can amount to the best present you’ll ever receive – living life in a way that’s absolutely true to the person you are inside. Focus on that, and see if 2017 turns out to be YOUR year. I bet it does.

Happy New Year, Lucy xx

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12 thoughts on “Happy You, Happy 2017

  1. Pandora says:

    Another beautifully written and insightful post!
    Thank you Lucy for sharing your wisdom.
    I’ve spent 2016 coming to a similar conclusion: it’s ok to be me. I’ve spent my whole life living up to other people’s expectations and then drinking too much when I fell short of their ideals (or the pressure to live up to them became too much).
    In 2017 I am going to live my life unapologetically and I feel no need to explain my actions to anyone. Although drinking had become a self-destructive habit, the reasons behind it had to be addressed before I could break the cycle. Bring on sobriety!

  2. Absolutely perfect Lucy. I vividly remember feeling all those things around Christmas and New Year.
    I hope everyone planning their first AF New Year experiences that wonderful sense of release at breaking the cycle.

  3. Anne Halligan says:

    What an inspirational post & so glad I found you on the Radio in January 2014, will be my 3rd anniversary on 6/1/17, my family all drink less now too as I was the instigator.
    Keep doing what you do Lucy
    With much Gratitude
    Anne
    X

  4. 25andquitting says:

    New Year’s Eve has always been a mental struggle for me, there is so much pressure to be having ‘the best time ever’ and it feels like everyone is out having way more fun than you. Reading your book over Christmas was the perfect antidote to the holiday blues and got me over the first hurdle in my recovery. This year I’m spending New Years at home, sober, to set myself up for a peaceful and happy year to come.

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