Sunday, November 7, 2010

Changing Up the Holidays

bead embroidery, Dark Thoughts Pointing at Christmas
Dark Thoughts Pointing at Christmas

I am darkness
looking at Christmas,
pointing dark thoughts
at Christmas,
especially at all the hype,
the production
and the requirements
at this time of year.
I am supposed to be happy,
merry and bright.
But I am not.
I am darkness.

I want to change.
I want to hear
the sweet songs
of the Christmas birds.
Where is my big heart
at Christmas?
Follow the birds.

* -_- * -_- * -_- * -_- * -_- * -_- *

The above beading and my poem from 2007 tell my holiday story for many decades, how upside down it all was and how dark, all the way back to my 30s, possibly even my school years. The child got completely lost in the sauce.

As the poem suggests, every year I attributed holiday blues and bah-humbugism to things outside of my self, blaming the world for my unhappiness because of:

  • rampant commercialism
  • the way society pushes its traditions on us
  • not being good at the whole gift giving thing
  • lack of spiritual foundation
  • pessimism about world peace
  • seasonal affective disorder
  • not having any children through whose eyes I might experience the so-called magic of Christmas
  • my family being geographically scattered

Today I'm here to acknowledge something different, to state the one, encompassing mother-reason for dark thoughts pointing at the entire holiday season starting with Halloween and marching right through Valentine's Day. To day I'm here to admit the one word that sums it all up:


If I was not in diet mode, then I dreaded the holiday season, knowing I would

  • embarrass myself taking cookie after cookie, bar after bar, pie after pie, stuffed mushroom after stuffed mushroom at whatever party, dinner, event, restaurant I was at
  • stuff myself repeatedly until I was way beyond uncomfortable
  • buy every imaginable treat, bring it into my home and rapidly consume it
  • binge on sugar both publicly and privately
  • probably gain at least 10 pounds, perhaps 20, in five months of celebrating the holidays
  • eat rather than talk at social events
  • harbor deep resentment against my sugar-craving body
  • experience self-loathing and disgust

If I was in diet mode, then I dreaded the holiday season, knowing I would

  • be deprived of sweets, craving them, dwelling on them, feeling angry every time I had to pass on available sweets, feeling equally angry every time I "cheated"
  • figure out how to have as much fruit cake, pie, chocolate, Christmas cookies, etc. as possible, how to cut the healthy foods way back so I could binge without gaining weight
  • face the fact that I'd probably blow my diet, possibly gain back all the pounds I'd lost
  • avoid social situations because of deprivation or the possibility of blowing my diet
  • experience deep resentment against my body
  • ridicule and blame my body for being fat, for preventing me from eating all the treats I want

All-in-all, five months of being a super unhappy person, driven by addiction to a state of perpetual anger, resentment, angst and despair. No wonder dark thoughts pointed at Christmas!

* -_- * -_- * -_- * -_- * -_- * -_- *

Change! Ah-ha! Ho-ho! Change is here! Super, big-time, hallelujah change! Binging is simply not an option any more. It's not about trying to figure out how to cheat my diet any more; nor is it about flat-out gobble it all down. Been there; done both. I am abstinent now. Period!

Gradually, the call of the cookie, the whisper of the pie, the siren song of candy has faded. I don't dwell on or crave these things any more. I rarely think about them at all. And I don't feel deprived.

What does that mean as I look ahead toward Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day? It means I have a clean slate! I can re-invent the holidays and look for things to do that will be meaningful or fun. Unlike all years past, where obsession with food and sweets overshadowed everything else, this year I can focus on what is really important!

I feel giddy with excitement about it!

At the same time, I'm fully aware of how shaky sobriety is, about how it's one day at a time with the help of my higher power and fellowship of others who have known what it's like to binge for five months straight, about how feeling my feelings is still very much a learning process.

Shakiness aside, my optimism and child-like wonder at this time of new-beginnings is like the unfolding petals of the sweetest rose imaginable!


  1. LOVE this!!! Especially the ending. Which is really the beginning. Your mood is infectious:0

  2. WOW- a life-changing turning point!
    Just like it "should" be unfolding....
    Christmas itself seems reborn in your Mind!

  3. Good for you that you know you have choices and that that is totally in your hands. You have the tools to make that happen with or without maistakes. Julie C

  4. Looking forward to joining you in enjoying the holidays this year and next!

  5. You can make this season anything you want it to be!

    For years, I did the all-out eating. Then I did an abstinence year. Now I just enjoy what comes my way, knowing I'm in control and making all the choices.

  6. Oh, that's wonderful! Make the holidays, all the holidays, your own to enjoy! Congratulations, Peaceful Bird, you rock!

  7. the holidays have so much meaning and emotion for me. I was touched by and connected with SO MUCH of what you said. I started my blog on 11/14/09 and I was very sad and nostalgic last year as well as stressed with work lay offs. I hated that I found myself stuck in lines in stores buying what?

    I would rather spend my time at home ,cozy with the animals or with a book or music or movies or my hubby. Or spend my time outside in the wonder of winter, feedng the birds, watching nature curl up for a nap while the little birds and squirrels skitter about with life. But you know me, a cup of hot tea or cocoa or whatever is still a part of my scenario and keeping that in balance and under control is my challenge for including it..somehow.

  8. In a way this year I am happy to be letting go of the big baking I usually do. My daughter who loves it is not coming home and I don't have a job so no co-workers to share it all with. No close friends around anymore who look forward to receiving it anymore. So I am released. I loved it all those years, but I also used it as an excuse to overindulge myself. I see that for what it is and so I can say "no thanks" to it now and hopefully focus on other things that are more healthful and enjoyable for all of us.

  9. Just checking in!
    Saying "Hi!"
    Hope all is well....

  10. I am amazed at the progress you are making. You can really induldge in being proud of yourself!

    Admiration and love,


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