Soon families across the US will be sitting down to celebrate Thanksgiving. Maybe Mom got up first thing this morning to make the dressing, while the turkey sat out waiting to be stuffed. Others in the household might have taken this day as an opportunity to catch up on their beauty sleep. Children wake up early, excited.
The holiday is a time for families to reconnect and spend quality time together.
Potatoes and are peeled. Brussels sprouts are boiled. The gravy is made. The cranberries go into our best crystal dishes. The aroma of turkey permeates our home with it’s tantalizing odors.
Grandpa is snoozing in the recliner.
The dining table is dressed in it’s Sunday best.
The scene is set. It’s a lovely picture. If, you don’t look to closely.
If you do you’ll see Mom is haggard. She can barely keep the smile on her face.
Her eldest daughter is not only catching up on her beauty sleep, she’s on the nod.
There’s a tense silence in the family room where Dad sits drinking beer and watching the football game.
Holidays, for those of us who have addiction in our families, are a difficult time. We may have grown up in alcoholic families, only to have escaped as soon as humanly possible. Many of us have gone on to develop addiction ourselves, or to marry, or hook up with, other alcoholics or addicts.
We have a sense of responsibility to one another, one that is not only weighty, it can be downright suffocating at times.
Roles are learned. Family dynamics are played out.
Keep the peace. Keep the peace. Keep the peace.
Until you can’t.
In our family there was always at least one blow up over any given weekend spent together. Someone felt hurt, or misunderstood. We lacked the ability to communicate with any open sincerity, or level of trust.
It was easier to busy yourself with the dishes, or serving, than it was to spend time in long lazy chats ‘catching up.’ Let’s face it. In alcoholic homes our conversations can feel more like interrogations, than they can any casual conversation. We are so busy looking for hidden meaning and agenda, that a simple talk, can wear us out.
We all pretend, to not see, what we’re seeing. Then we pair off into our familiar little groups, rehashing the scene later.
It’s predictable, in a weirdly discombobulating way.
Sometimes Holiday Celebrations are simply a time, to be gotten through.
Other times, Holiday Celebrations are a time to be cherished.
I’ve experienced both.
All I know for sure, is the more I work on me, the safer I am for everyone else to be around.
Our life’s lessons don’t always come wrapped in beautiful packages, sometimes they come wrapped in everything we don’t want to be.
Whatever your circumstances this Holiday season, one things for sure. It’s you who will choose what you season your meal with.
I know what works for me.
Pass the gratitude please.