from the December 1991 AA San Diego Coordinator

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Sometimes Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities sounds like alcoholic holidays — roller coasters of thrill and depression, joy and defeat.

Alcoholics in recovery can have real problems with holiday seasons. The festivals of December can be wonderful but wrenching times.

No other holidays overflow with so much anticipation and family energy as Hanukkah and Christmas. They bring two things we need to handle with care — high expectations and intense relationships.

I’m glad we have old timers who share their holiday experience, strength and hope. They tell us how they find holiday help. They ask their Higher Power for guidance and strength:

To approach the holidays in a low key, objective manner, avoiding childhood fantasies of surprises and gifts. Nothing sets us up fr trouble more than excitement over wonderful, unrealistic, imagined outcomes.

To deal with families lovingly, respectfully and with a balanced outlook. The holidays can be the worst time to try healing family wounds especially if some relations are awash in nostalgia and dreaming. Avoid relationship rebuilding projects.

To plan and keep a holiday schedule with extra measures of A.A. action. Holiday busyness tends to crowd out A.A. meetings and companions. We need A.A.’s extended family to celebrate every day of sobriety, but especially in this season, when so many alcoholics — including ourselves — reach out for help.

~ Alan S.