Christmas of 1992, I called my mother early in the morning because I knew it would be my only chance for her to hear my voice on this day that was so special to her, a day that once was special to me. I spent it alone, drunk, sleeping the day away. This is the worst Christmas memory I hope to ever hold in the crevices of my brain. Though also, I never wish to forget it, because that is the day my life shall return to that hopelessness despair I called life.

It was the Christmas of 2004, that brought out what Christmas Spirit is to me. I had been sober for only a little over a month when the first Christmas song chimed out over the radio at the ending of October. Today, people groan when Christmas music is played so far in advance, but in 2004, it was the welcoming of a brand new Christmas and new traditions to be made. This would be the most special Christmas of my life.

Come with me, to see Christmas Spirit through the eyes of an alcoholic. It was 6 days spent with needle and thread sewing a popcorn garland for a 1 foot Christmas tree that sat on the middle of the mantle of what would be my home with my husband four years down the road. It was walking, and not swaying through the Dollar Tree, for stockings that I would write names on in glitter, and shopping for cheap chocolates to place inside them on Christmas Eve. I even bought a Christmas shirt to wear for the great event of Christmas morning.

This was not only going to be my first sober Christmas since I was 17, but the first one with a man I loved and a German Shepherd that had become my daughter. This year will mark 6 years of a tradition we made of watching 'A Christmas Story' together.

I hadn't been sober long enough to find work, nor any means of getting there yet, so I donated plasma four times in November to buy my first Christmas presents in several years.. I spent some of the money on a Ham and other fixings and made the biggest feast on Christmas Day. Oh what a grand celebration it was. I found Christmas Sprit in the warmth of what God had blessed me with and not the warmth and loneliness at the bottom of a bottle. It was my first Christmas Day without a hangover in so many years.

Christmas morning came at 6 a.m. and I cried as I watched my husband and Lady Bear open their small but meaningful gifts I had bought with love. Lyndel cried as he noticed a small handmade stocking I had cross stitched for him that was hanging from the mantle.. As we held hands and prayed over the meal I'd so passionately made for the man I loved, I thanked God for keeping me sober on Christmas Day and I asked Him to watch over the others that were like me, that had not found their Christmas Spirit.

When you hear that first Christmas song played this year, think of the alcoholic that will be spending Christmas alone, under a bridge, or in her car because she knows no other way. Oh how she would love to be in your car as you groan when they play Joy to the World 59 times in the beginning of November. When you sit down to your Christmas Dinner this year and bow your head over that delicious ham that God provided you with, say a prayer that everything go just right for the alcoholic that is preparing her first meal so gratefully, so appreciatively for the gift of Christmas Spirit.

While you're strolling around filling your cart up at Wal-Mart buying your Christmas gifts, try not to complain that the store is overcrowded. Think of the alcoholic that is laying on her back at the plasma center, donating to buy presents at the Dollar Tree for the ones God has given her to love and cherish. As the holidays approach soon and as we remember the birth of our Savior, I beg of you to find your Christmas Spirit.


Christina Lynch October 17, 2009

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