My First Sober Christmas: An all-new extra special Christmas episode:

Before i get to the meat, here’s the gravy: South Park’s Mr Garrison – Merry Fµcking Christmas

If you’re gonna skip the post, read the Non Sequitur at the end, ok? It’s a good one.

The only thing i hate more than Christmas are Christmas episodes of shows that end up with the reruns in the middle of a July heatwave. God but i hate those things. i’d rather chug canned laughter than canned yuletide warmth. And i hate canned laughter more than anything.

Back to my problem. Christmas. i think the last time i was sober for Christmas was about 4 or 5 years ago. i’d quit drinking for six months and powered through. Before that, the last time i didn’t find my Christmas cheer in a bottle was when MTV played something called music videos all day and nothing else. Yes, that long ago.

See, i get stressed at Christmas. Wanna know why? Too bad. It’s because i’m afraid. i’m afraid of messing up. i’m afraid of not buying the right present or not buying enough presents or spending too much money or not enough. i’m afraid of not liking people’s gifts or not being capable of showing people how how much i like their gift. i’m afraid of not living up to the Christmas spirit, of disappointing my kids and my girlfriend.

Add to that, when i’m afraid of something, i bail. It’s not a question of fight or flight with me, more of which flight am i gonna take. i end up blowing stuff off for as long as possible and hoping it’ll go away. But it doesn’t. It keeps getting closer, one day at a time, like a serial killer snail. So what do i do? Get off my scardey cat ass and actually do crap to get into the holiday spirit? Take the kids to see the shop windows, go to Christmas market and look for tree ornaments? Learn how to play Johnny Mathis Christmas songs on the guitar?

Nope. i drink. i take that vacation in a bottle. One way. The next best thing to caring too much is not caring at all, right? Then i slide right through Christmas and wake up some time in February.

Except this year, for my kids, for Miss Demeanor but mostly for me, i made the kamikaze decision to try it without the booze. Why? Damned if i know. i think maybe i’m hoping i’ll survive the fear and the stress and the pressure and maybe do a couple things right.

Cross your fingers for me.


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10 thoughts on “My First Sober Christmas: An all-new extra special Christmas episode:

  1. Like I told Ms D., all that pressure comes from you (and Madison Avenue, yeah, you been brainwashed along with the rest of us ) and you are passing on the pressure by example. Should put your foot down one year and have no TV, no radio and only a short go round for lights and displays. You know why no one does that any more? That fear you have of the holiday’s is the fear we now have of really connecting with ourselves and our families. We entertain instead of really talking or let technology entertain for us.

    Remember on vacation, fishing with your kids, just you, them and the fish? How about when you helped them with their homework (I don’t mean suggested a web site for them to visit, but actually explained a concept to them.)? I know you and Ms D break it all down from time to time, but is it because things have built up that need to be addressed or are those sponteneous “gee, I’d like to know you better” moments? This is what the holidays should be, an anual “family time”. I dunno you that well Al, but you’re a hell of a bartender here, I think you should have as much fun out of the bar as in.

    • Good Advice, Ken!

      You’re totally right about teaching by example. If i get my panties all in a bunch about this then my kids will too. Maybe the best present i can give them this year (other than the Wii, lol) is to find the fun in this holiday, no matter what.

      It’ll be more difficult sober, but needs to be done. Thanks again, my brother, for saying what needed to be said!

      Am K Halll

  2. You can do eeeeeet, St. Paul!!!

    Especially with such awesome reasons. I’m a bailer too, so I get it, (btw- soooo stealing you serial killer snail bit. LOVE IT.) I bail into my computer, and meaningless sex. Same ball, different wax. 🙂 I’m the queen of hitting ignore on my phone.

    But in the case of your fears… it’s a matter of worse-case scenario…

    If someone doesn’t like your gift? Then they, sir, have missed the fucking point of the season and deserve to be the miserable that they are.

    If you don’t like someone’s gift? You recognize that a pile of crap from someone who loves you is worth it, because of the latter part of the beginning of this phrase, not the former. Capische?

    I think it’s more that you are tying the whole presents thing into a statement of your worth. You are not worthy for what you spend. You are worthy because you are a talented, intelligent, thoughtful, curious, funny funny man. Not because you remembered someone collecs ducks and got them a diamond encrusted mallard.

    You don’t live up to the Christmas spirit, it lives up IN you.

    Merry Christmas, my friend. I love ya.

  3. Hi Darlin’,

    Worst case scenario, indeed. That’s always the first place i go. It probably does have a lot to do with my perceived worth, which is why the booze boost helped so much in the past.

    Good advice that’ll help me focus on what’s important and will make this holiday a little easier without the crutch…

    Merry Christmas to you, ‘Shel. LOTS of love right back at you,

    Al K Hall

  4. Yes and yes and yes to what your commenters have said so far, even the “Christmas sux” one, lol!! (And heeyyyyyy, he’s an author of a real book on a serial killer! Hey! Which reminds me, I am with Shel on the serial killer snail bit — that really made me giggle.)

    I’m not a bailer so much as an internal bawler. I have the same inadequacy issues, but rather than turn to a bottle or to sex or to other forms of externalizing the stress, I internalize it to the point where I think a lot about killing myself. Not pretty either. I may be hiding it better sometimes, but it’s still there and still just as tough on me and everyone around me. (I feel like The Breakfast Club here, lol.)

    I hope you can make it, my dear. And I am glad you are mostly doing it for you because that is the most important person to be doing it for. But as I have written before, I am here for you, on or off the wagon because I see all the stuff Shel sees up there: the talented, intelligent, thoughtful, curious, funny funny man. It’s part of why I am here, living with you, you know?

    I love you.

    • i guess everyone needs an escape valve, the deal is trying to find the one that works the best and hurts the least.

      Your being by my side is the main thing that gives me the courage to try this, though. i feel your love and support and it’s helping more than i let you know or show sometimes!


      Al K Hall

  5. Well AlKHALL, everyone has said everything so I’m just here to let you know that I’m scared too about a lot of things. And I still think you are giving your loved ones and yourself the best present of all.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Bats!

      “I still think you are giving your loved ones and yourself the best present of all.”

      What a beautiful sentiment… Thanks so much for this, it’s like receiving another Christmas present.

      Thanks for patronizing me, feel free to drop in any time!

      Al K Hall

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