Sitting at the Adult Table

As the holidays approach I remember the 48 years of holidays gone by.  As I take a moment to reflect on the family and friends that are no longer with us, and everything they contributed to make “the big event and traditions” all happen almost magically, I am transported back in time to sitting at the kid’s table with my cousins, laughing and having fun. I remember the year I felt I was too big for the kid’s table, and wondered how I could get a seat with the “big people.”

Kids Holiday Table

Image by Marco via Flickr

I had no idea what would need to take place to open a spot for me. I had no idea the responsibility and organization it requires to make all the magic happen.  I had no idea that I would take the journey through addiction and that I would spend time drinking and using. There were many times where I would be hung-over and obsessing about things, instead of gaining the skills and emotional maturity it takes to pull off the “perfect” holiday (and is there any such thing?). I had no idea I would build resentment toward a cousin who’s a kleptomaniac, who neither acknowledged her addiction or apologized for all the things she stole from me. I had no idea I would refuse to go to the only house that was paying attention to all the holiday festivities.

Recovery Center for Women

Image by Josh McGinn via Flickr

Now fast forward several years. I am now 48 years old. My grandparents are gone, as are many other family members. Two cousins my age are gone due to addiction. It’s now my turn to create magic during the holiday season. I don’t know how to cook a turkey. I can barely get bacon, eggs and toast onto a plate while they’re still hot; the bread remains cold and the butter refuses to melt.

WHY OH WHY didn’t I pay attention?

Could I have spent more time in the kitchen? Could I have listened more closely when my gramma rattled off EVERY SINGLE ingredient with DETAILED instructions EVERY time anyone told her something tasted good? How did I miss the LIFE lesson of how the f*uck to do a holiday meal?

Now I sit here, piling more shame onto myself, with the familiar burn in my stomach that reminds me just how much I suck, how I’m just not enough.  If that doesn’t do the trick, I can toss my kids into the mix.  Oh gosh, I haven’t taught my children any skills. What in the world is going to happen? It’s ALL my fault!

I sit in that familiar feeling I’ve known since birth—shame.  And then I stop, and I say out loud:

I’m gonna learn!

It’s never too late!

I can ask for support from somebody who is great at all of the holiday preparations! There are apps!

And the list goes on….

I experience an immediate energetic shift, and I’m surprised there is not a noise as my head pops out of the low vibrating energy of victim and into positive thinking.

Once that transition occurs, I am instantly filled with hope, gratitude and joy.

I’m not quite sure why I continue to put myself in my self-created “hell on earth,” but I do know that I am using my tools and getting out of the muck faster and faster.

If being happy is what I desire to be, then I am the only one who can make this happen—it’s completely and forever up to me. To let go of old negative thinking, to walk away from the intoxicating temptation of shame-based thinking, to immerse myself in my old pain—some bestowed on me, some self-created.

So watch out, adult table, here I come! And if the holiday magic I create, the turkey and the fixin’s, are terrible, then there is always pizza, and there is always next year.

Join me at the adult table, knowing that we belong there, because we have everything we need within ourselves to create a truly magical holiday.

Take your first step towards recovery at Dee’s House of Orange County. Our Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center for Women has a variety of treatment options to help you overcome alcoholism or drug addiction. Read our clients’ testimonials, or contact us today or visit us at our Southern California recovery center.