Christmas Present/Christmas past

Christmas is an important time of year in my recovery.

When I was gambling I used to look forward to Christmas. Not for the celebrations and getting together with friends, family etc, but for all the horse racing and sport that would be happening on Boxing Day. I'd usually be in a hole of some sort and would have been studying the form and picking out my favourite horses etc for weeks in a desperate attempt to get myself out of the hole.  Presents would be a hinderance bought on Christmas Eve, spending as little as I thought I could get away with.

Christmas Day - well I was single, we all used to have lunch at my brothers. We used to go down the pub first, there would be a few of us there so I would have to nip to the loo any time it looked like a round of drinks was due.  At the lunch table everyone would know that I was in the s**t and everyone would know that I was planning to blow any money I could lay my hands on the next day. My mum would be worried sick and everyone else would be trying to keep off the subject so as not to spoil the day. My mind would be elsewhere - what the hell were they worried about? After all I'd be winning a lot of money the next day wouldn't I?!  Well, no, not usually, just digging the hole a little deeper. Yes, sometimes I'd win but I'm a Compulsive Gambler, I'd just start digging another hole.

This Christmas I will be at my brothers again, now with my wife.  We have already been to my wifes side of the family and have dropped off presents there.  Nearly all of my presents are bought and Im off work this week so I will get the remainder tomorrow.  We will be drivign down to my mums house on Christmas Eve.  We may stop off on the way to visit one of  my nephews who has just had a baby girl.  Im a great Uncle again!  That will depend on the weather/traffic on the day though.  Mum will be glad to see us, I know she is proud of me nbow and doesnt worry any more.  We will open our presents on Christmas morning which will be nice.  Christmas lunchtime we might go to the pub on the way to my brothers.  If we do then i will be the first at the bar, I won't need a convenient bladder!

Christmas lunbch there will be about 12 of us around the table i think, my sister in law will have catered for about 30!  Lots of food, drink for those that do ( I don't) and lots of fun.  No doubt we will be playing lots of silly games and have a great laugh.

Boxing day my brother will have a bet, good luck to him he doesnt have a problem.   He knows not to discuss his bet with me or tell me of any winnings/losses.  What i do depends on the weatehgr really.  I might go and watch my local footy team.  I follow them form afar and dont often get the chance to watch them.  It depends on the wether thoough, I must be going soft and dont fancy freezing my ***** off if its snowing!

My niece has got a new job in London and there will be another get together at my brothers to celebrate, she is spending Christmas Day at her boyfriends parents.  I will be there, eitehr for the day or after the footy.  We will be eating whatever is left form the day before - no doubt ther will STILL be a lot left for my brother lunches for the coming week!  My mum is in her 80s now, she will love it as she always does at family get togethers nowadays,  I will walk her home on both days when she is ready to go.  She is pretty game though and often im ready to go before she is LOL!

The day after Boxing Day we will be driving home, no doubt with a lot of the food my mum will have bought in for us - despite us telling her not to. ( We wont be at her house for most of it!)

Christmas really highlights the difference between now and then and Im really looking forward to it.  Life is good in recovery.  Yes it has it's ups and downs - Im currently sat here freezing my nuts off as the boiler has broken donw and British Gas cant get here till Wednesday to sort it out.  It wont get us down though, im out for most of tomorrow anyway and will be having an extra hot water bottle tonight!

I love Christmas.  I realize that a lot of people reading this won't be having a good time this Christmas.  if you are new to recopvery and still have debts etc then yes Christmas is likely to be no fun.  There's no changing that Im afraid but by focussing on your recovery future christmases will be better.

Merry Christmas everyone.