Its Christmas Eve and I’m full of thoughts.
I suppose it is inherently a time of reflection but for me my current situation in life has left me to perhaps be more reflective than usual.
I went to my second 12-step meeting yesterday, and the majority of people who shared expressed worry about getting through the Christmas period. I remember thinking at the time that this doesn’t really apply to me as I don’t consider Christmas to be a time of weakness, but I’ve been unexpectedly hit by it in a different way.
My mum died about 14 months ago. Last Christmas was pretty terrible but at least my sister, brother-in-law, wife and gran were here with me and my dad. This year, it is just me and my dad. We’ll be having Christmas Day at my 96 year-old grandmother’s house as she has become too frail to leave the house.
So I’m feeling pretty down. Thoughts about my mum, my gran and also some clarity over the relationship I have with my dad. He harbours his own secrets. Cannabis and sexual activity (porn, maybe more) I think, but we’ve never spoken about it. Just like my days of old, he lives a successful and social life, but I suspect he has secrets that no-one knows, and he appears to be ok with that. I think he’s probably past the point of having a desire to reflect and change his ways, and I have no desire to visit these areas of his life with him.
However, I am currently in the process of trying to understand how I can remove the shame and secrecy from my addiction and my life. This means formulating a plan to start telling people about my addiction, and living a singular, honest life that includes my addiction, rather than keeping it secret. Unfortunately, being at home with my dad has made me stare into the face of someone doing the opposite – unable to share any form of honest emotion with their son and content to hide secrets and keep up appearances. I don’t see any way I can further my relationship with my dad while this dynamic remains, and taking it a step further I could say that interacting with him may actually be a detrimental activity for me. That’s a strong thing to say so I’ll sleep on it.
So what’s next? Well, my predictions / goals for 2015 are:
- I will become a dad in February
- I will continue going to 12 step groups, become more familiar with the programme and start to see some tangible improvements in my life, especially in the duration of my periods of abstinence
- I will start to tell people about my addiction, including my sister
I feel like I am going through a mental upheaval – revisiting almost all areas of my life to assess the state I am in today and who “I” really am. The goal being to restore balance to my life and adjust specific areas in order to compensate for the loss of my addictive behaviour. I don’t think I fully appreciate the extent to which this will change my daily life (for example, I received two phone calls today from 12-step attendees I met last night, just checking in on me. That could be a daily occurrence for the next x months or years…!). But change is good and I will embrace it.
I don’t know better. There is so much help out there if I seek it out and allow it into my life. It will just take commitment, courage and humility, and if I can’t offer those things in my life, what sort of life will I really be living?
Happy Christmas everyone. I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a fulfilling and empowered 2015.