The holiday season is wrought with so many emotions for me this year, for many reasons.
I’d like to say that my being sober is the biggest change that I’m adapting to this year as I push on into the holidays, but, in reality it’s so many things. Sobriety seems like just another speck in the whirlwind of things that will be different for me this year.
It’s my second holiday season without my ex, but, because I was so loaded for most of last year’s “celebrations,” this year is the first year that I feel like I’m going into the holidays solo. There’s a lingering, hollow emptiness. It feels dark, lonely, and cold on the walk home these days. Because, it is. And, it wasn’t last year, because, I was never walking home. I was walking to the bar. And, I was drunk on the way there, usually. So, I was too wasted to notice the dark, I had the booze to keep me company, and that booze kept my blood thick and hot.
At the bar, my fair weather family awaited me, drink sitting in front of me before uttering a word.
Then, the death of a close relative took me home for Christmas, unexpectedly and suddenly. It was hardly a holiday. It was a week of mourning. Despite surrounding tragedy, I was close to my family. In the throws of my alcoholism, but, near to the people that care for and love me. And, while my folks are coming here to Portland for this Thanksgiving holiday, and, I’m going back East to NYC for Christmas, I’m here, alone, now.
With so much going for me, I feel guilty on these nights where it just doesn’t feel like enough. When it doesn’t feel right or complete. Where, just because I am able to be alone, I’m not able to make it so want to be alone. And, after fighting that good fight everyday, sometimes, I have to resign myself to the feeling. Accept it. Live in it. And, I suppose, therein lies the triumph, if there is one tonight. I can do it alone, even though my heart aches for anything else.
Holiday decorations go up in store windows. The smell of wood fires permeates from cozy, Craftsman houses, happy families inside, gathering at the table for a simple, midweek dinner. The ends of the aisles at Safeway are set with Christmas candy displays and crappy, store-made pies. And, it makes me miss home. It makes me want my own home. It makes me miss my family. Makes me want my own family. The one I was supposed to have by now.
I’d love to say that I can live enough in the moment to let all that go. What was. What might have been. And, I know that there is a future for me, a bright one, just past this valley.
But, tonight, there’s no place like home. And, I’m just not there.