GRANT ME THE SERENITY
With the holiday season upon us, we asked a few local sober folks how they maintain their serenity and sobriety during—what can be—the most stressful time of the year.
“The holidays are such a bittersweet time for me. There are times I don’t feel like being cheery and I even start resenting people who are. Then I realize that it’s preposterous to even think that way. I need an attitude check. I have to practice happiness and joy when my character wants to alter that. But for the most part, I’m a happy person by nature. I’ll definitely keep more serene and calm if I surround myself with my friends that are even keeled with my well being. I have certain friends that keep me feeling sane and joyous. I’ll spend more time with them, so I can spend more time with my less spirited ones. Oh, and feed me cupcakes, and all is right with the world-butter cream.”
—Curtis Hutchinson, sober since December, 2007.
“The key to maintaining my serenity and sobriety during the holidays is remembering the only person I can change is myself. The holidays are the time of year I’m forced to realize that I have a different way of dealing with life then many of my family members. I have an emotional and spiritual toolbox at my disposal to maintain sanity during the holidays. I also attend meetings out of town. I’m traveling out of state for Christmas and I have meetings planned already. Being sober, I’m much easier to deal with and in turn it makes my family dynamic much smoother.”
—Karl Zahl, sober since October 2013.
“The holidays have always been a time for my family to come together and celebrate. So for sure it gets a little crazy having all these nieces and nephews to think of and shop for. Talk about stress! Luckily, I have a sister and brother in law who are also sober, so I find support in them. I make sure to also stay really connected and honest with the
people close to me, including my sponsor. This year I plan to hit up some of those marathon-12-step meetings that will be happening throughout LA during the holidays. In fact, I can find so much gratitude in holidays today and gratitude has been key in keeping my serenity and recovery.”
—Dale Walker, sober since August, 2013.
“My serenity is connected to my spiritual maintenance. The best way to attend to that is by being of service. I also try and eliminate expectations of myself and of others. Sometimes, in the past, I’ve imposed undue expectations on myself about what I think I should be doing or how I think I should be feeling and that invariably results in some form of disappointment. So, I’m going to take it easy, get out of my own way, and work towards the needs of others.”
—Michael Leimbek, sober since September, 2002.
“I try not to go out to bars or clubs just to avoid the temptation–especially on New Year’s Eve. How I maintain my serenity is that I don’t hang around people who like to party. I have a support network of friends who don’t drink or use drugs.
My family is very supportive during the holidays and most of them can handle their booze. Most importantly, I pray and meditate.”
—Osvaldo Villalobos, sober since November 2008.