A Rant for the Holiday Season


They say writers should never apologize in advance for the words their readers are about to read. Why give someone permission to close a book, shut a laptop or put down a mobile device?

Today, however, I’m apologizing for what you’re about to read and it’s okay if you want to move on to another task. You’ve probably been meaning to clean your shower grout or organize your junk drawer.

I’m in a mood today.

I’m in a mood to be blunt.


What’s my problem, you ask? My problem is people who are so selfish and self-centered that they:

  • •  Don’t want you to be happy because your happiness may indicate you’re not happy with them. These are also the people who believe they know what’s best for you and who live by the credo that “we must keep up appearances at any and all costs.”
  • •  Commit the most stupid–and often final–acts that inflict incredible emotional pain on the people who love them. I can’t know the entire story or circumstance, but the trickle-down emotional effects on the innocent left behind after one of those stupid decisions is maddening and so very sad.
  • •  Can’t understand that while it’s true that blood is thicker than water, it’s also true that thickened blood clogs the heart and shuts down a person’s ability to fully live. These people are usually the family members we don’t choose and, like the first group above, assume your values are defective or wrong simply because they are different.
  • •  Refuse to understand, or worse, deny that addiction is a disease. People in this category tend to stigmatize those of us with alcoholism or drug addiction as people who could just stop drinking or using drugs if we really wanted to. Often they have trouble supporting our recovery because we make them uncomfortable. They just don’t get that we’ve found a profoundly different way to live in recovery that helps us become genuine and unconditionally loving.

Again, sorry for laying it on the line

I know, the holidays are upon us and I’m usually never this grumpy. Christmas is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately, though, the season can also be a shitty time of year, particularly for those with addiction.

Even in recovery, the holidays can be volatile. We are more susceptible to loneliness, anxiety, stress and dis-ease. There is so much pressure to be, do and act in a certain way. Every single day we’re inundated with marketing messages to buy this gadget or that do-dad.

A bunch of us also face end-of-year work challenges at the same time we’re dealing with the holidays and family situations. It can all be so exhausting.

Here’s the thing.

Might it be possible to simply accept that the month of December, for all it’s beauty and spirit, is tough? Really tough for some? Can we concede that fact?

Here’s the antidote as I see it: Pause. Just take a breath. Give somebody a break. Let it go.

Simple, but not easy, I know. But can we try? For the sake of my mood and yours, can we please try?

Photo courtesy of nacu.

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