Recovering Through the Holidays: Jeff

Alumni Interview by EHN Staff

In this blog post series, EHN alumni share their experience, strength, and hope for the holiday season.

What were the winter holidays like for you prior to recovery?

Christmas for me was always a joyous time. I have one brother; our father was not around too much so my mom was always trying very hard to make us happy. Mom worked really hard to put lots of gifts under the tree for us.

Christmas was actually the first time I had a drink. We were allowed to have Baby Duck wine on Christmas eve, I think I was 10 or 11 years old. We thought we were so grown up.

As I got older and able to get alcohol on my own, it became a big part of the holidays.

I remember I would stock up on “Christmas Booze” and then run out before Christmas and have to go back and get more. I would stay up drinking till 5 in the morning and then have to crawl out of bed when my daughter would get up at 7 or 8. It became unmanageable.

Is there a part of the winter holidays that is particularly special for you now?

Family time is always special. We always try to do something as a family. Snowshoeing, tobogganing, movies. Family time is the best!

What advice do you have for people in treatment over the holidays?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Relax, enjoy the season and the rest. This may be your first Christmas in recovery and a chance to escape the hectic mayhem you may be used to. Many people have said that being at Edgewood was their best Christmas ever!

What would you say to the loved ones of someone who is new to recovery or attending treatment over the winter holidays?

Healing is a process. Your family member will be home when they are ready. Addiction is a disease that takes a long time to recover from, some say a lifetime! There will be happy, joyous, and free days ahead.

What are your top three suggestions for people celebrating the winter holidays in recovery for the first time?

Go to lots of 12-step fellowship meetings. Attend more than you normally would. Live in the moment and do whatever you can to be present! I like the mantra of “laugh, love, relax.” Also, trust your Higher Power. Things have a way of working out just as they should.

What struggles do you still face during the winter holidays and how do you respond to these struggles?

I don’t have many struggles these days. Christmas Eve can be a little tough because some of our family are heavy drinkers. My wife and I arrive to the festivities early and leave before the conversations become rowdy. I stay well connected to my AA family.

Our AA district holds a 12 Days of Christmas celebration. Three weeks in December is all potluck meetings and we make the most of our friendships.

EHN Canada Can Help You

If you would like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by EHN Canada, enroll yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at one of the numbers below. Our phone lines are open 24/7—so you can call us anytime.

  • 1-800-387-6198 for Bellwood Health Services in Toronto, ON
  • 1-587-350-6818 for EHN Sandstone, in Calgary, AB
  • 1-800-683-0111 for Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo, BC
  • 1-888-767-3955 for EHN Whiterock, in Surrey, BC
  • 1-888-488-2611 for Clinique Nouveau Depart in Montreal, QC

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