St Patricks Day can bring up lots of old feelings and a feeling of loss in the newly sober alcoholic. The loss of shared gaiety and fellowship around the bar can bring up negative emotions or fears of being left out. Thankfully, newly sober people only have to attend a meeting or participate in a local Alcathon to gain a sense of community and shared purpose. Holidays may be a time for joy and togetherness via alcohol for some, but sober alcoholics need not worry about losing out. Once we have worked the steps, we don’t have to fear being around people who drink or in party environments if we have a sufficient reason to be there AND we are spiritually fit. However, before we work the steps, it is a good idea to avoid drinking environments to spend time at sober events and meetings. It is possible to have joyful togetherness over holidays even if our past experience entwines that with drinking. One day at a time, you will get there.

Recovery is hard work. We are asked to take a lifetime of thinking and behavior patterns and be willing to toss them aside for a whole new set of tools. This takes practice and discipline to be willing to continue to strive towards a principled way of living. Sometimes I get tired of meditating, of pausing when agitated, of meetings and of no longer getting the quick fix of ‘getting my way’. Selfishness and self-centeredness are definitely the root of my troubles. We all want what we want when we want it. That’s very human. It’s okay to have days where it’s more of a struggle to show up for life than others. It’s okay to make mistakes too. The joy of living is more tied to the totality of experience rather than a narrow definition being a perfect person in recovery. From my few years of experience, there are no perfect people in recovery. I’ve never met one. You are doing just fine, even if you are making mistakes and making amends for them or if you aren’t where you think you should be – you are still doing just fine. Keep doing the work as best you can. The universe is guiding us for our greater good and all the lessons we learn are preparing us for each next step of the way.