Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's That Time!

Ah, the holidays. Although Christmas decorations started appearing in stores immediately after Halloween, for me the season doesn't really begin until Thanksgiving. That's when the shopping begins in earnest--well, okay, I just fibbed. Now that I think of it, I have bought a few gifts on sale, for who can resist a sale? But you know what I mean. Thanksgiving commences the season of overeating, running up my credit cards, avoiding shopping malls at all costs, and avoiding parties at all costs. If it weren't for online shopping, I'd be a total wreck. I absorb desperation and negative energy no matter how many psychic protective boundaries I build around myself. And let me tell you, "Black Friday" is aptly named. I know the original reason was because that's when companies finally went into the black instead of the red, but lately it seems every year brings some horrid new video of fistfights at Wal-Mart.


This was all so easy when I was drinking. Somebody is rude to me at the store and injures my tender psyche? I'd just come home and toss back a vodka martini. Or two. Or three.

I have to go to a holiday party, and my friend Pat's husband asks me to dance? And it's some old-fashioned waltzy sort of music that I'm clueless how to dance to, so he leads and I try my best to not stomp his toes? Eh, who cares? I can go back to the table and down myself a big ole spiked eggnog. Or two. Or three.

There are twelve people gathered around the table eating, relatives of my wife who all seem to have the name Bruce, and I'm expected to talk about fishing or Texas Hold 'Em poker? Pass the cranberry sauce. Oh, and that bottle of champagne.

This is the time of year I find not drinking to be most difficult. But it's merely stress; I know that. So, I remind myself that for every good time I once had drinking, there was a worse time. And that once I started, I really couldn't stop. Always, always, there was hell to pay the next morning. Let me tell you, it is decidedly not fun to open Christmas presents and smile and say "thank you" when you are trying to not vomit all over the pile of gifts and your head feels like a hundred elves with jingle bells and tiny hammers are inside your skull tapping away at your brains.

So I deal. I remind myself that half the horrors I imagine are inside my own head. I don't have to be "on" every second. No one expects that. And when I get tired, I can retreat, and they will understand. For this weekend, I've already downloaded a couple of movies on iTunes that I've been wanting to see; I'll bring my earbuds. On my Kindle I've got The Red Tent, which I've been meaning to read since forever. And I have some papers I need to grade as well--something I can't get out of, even if I wanted to. No introvert can make herself an extravert.

And no alcoholic can solve any problem by giving in and taking a drink.

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