Of all the gifts I gave or received this year for Christmas, the greatest gift is my sobriety. I did a calculation yesterday and figured that this was the first Christmas I’d been sober in 27 years.
That is not completely accurate, my wife was expecting in 2007 and I know that I didn’t drink on Christmas day that year because we didn’t know when the baby would get here. If Mr. Grey hadn’t been on the way, I certainly would have been drinking.
In those 27 years, I there were many when I drank in moderation, perhaps even normally, but in the past 7 there was nothing moderate or normal about my drinking. And my recollections of those Christmases are somewhat foggy.
But not this year. This year, I was sober and it was the greatest gift I could have given — to myself, and to my family.
The day was trying in some ways.
As I was preparing scalloped potatoes for Christmas dinner, the kitchen sink got clogged. I had the pleasure of trying to unclog it with a snake; a messy and smelly job. I was unsuccessful.
Many people, though not all, at our family celebration were drinking and there were some really good beer choices available. A very small part of me felt that I was missing out, but I knew that nothing good would come of it.
But the day was also amazing in other ways.
Because I was fully present, I was able to have conversations with people. Some of those conversations were great. I spoke at length with my uncle in Germany and also had some good conversations with my aunt and her new friend, Steve.
When we ate dinner, and Mr. Grey and his cousin B started acting up, I was actually in a position to handle it, and to do so in a loving and constructive way. Nothing ends disagreements between an 8 year old and a 4 year old like a tickle fest.
When I asked Mrs. TKD if she had a good Christmas, it wasn’t because I had a hidden fear that I’d fucked it up by being a drunk. It was genuinely because I wanted to know if she’d had a nice day.
Last night, before bed, Mr. Grey came up to me and said, “Dad, I hope tomorrow morning is just like this morning.” I thought for sure that this was about presents, but when I asked he said, “no, I don’t want anymore presents. This morning, when you were playing with my new droid, and I was playing with my DS, and Mommy and Papa were there – I want it to be like that. That was the best.”
And it was the best. And I remember it all and have no regrets today.