Celebrating the Holidays without alcohol...

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve supported my clients getting ready for the holiday season.

Whether it be strategies for drinking less and gracefully declining another glass of eggnog or Christmas morning coffee and Baileys,

Or writing a letter to friends and family explaining her specific need for support and creating healthy boundaries so that she doesn’t have to perform,

Or being vulnerable and truly opening up to her husband about the challenges she has experienced in the past, and how he can help her finally experience a different and lasting positive outcome...

This time of year is, as one clients so aptly stated during our last session - just plain crazy. Family dynamics, holiday expectations, coupled with consumer craziness and with a dose of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) thrown in there - who wouldn’t feel a little crazy?

And we know that during the crazy times, we can all use a little extra support.

If fact, now more than ever is the time to ask for help, and gentleness, and ease and understanding...

To pull out all the tools and draw from the inner strength and knowing that you’ve been cultivating.

My mom and I were just reminiscing about our Christmas last year, when a large portion of our family traveled to Mexico to spend the holidays here with me. Kids and cousins, and travel not only to a foreign country but a small town off the beaten path, mixed with all of the holiday expectations and family dynamics.

This, coupled with the fact that the love of my life was on the other side of the world and I was heart broken... could have been a recipe to be “driven to drink.”

Instead, as my mom commented to me last night, I was able to handle this pressure cooker environment while in an emotionally raw state with grace and ease, and to resist the urge to numb out, retreat and escape into alcohol.

This is a drastic change from the ghosts of Christmas past, which included:

One very white Christmas where a now-ex boyfriend and I sat up all night doing cocaine and then crying until the wee hours...

Another Christmas dinner that ended in a drunken fight

A ferry ride two days after Christmas, where I was still drunk from the night before and desperately trying not to be sick in front of my cousin who was sharing the trip with me

The many times I would arrive home to my mother’s for the holidays and simply crash, physically worn out from the dis-ease, chaos and hectic life I was living...

It is hard for me to write these truths about myself. To look back at this young woman who was hurting, lonely, isolating herself from her family, and not only uncomfortable in her body but totally mistreating her.

It has been a somewhat long road to here.

It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so worthwhile.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, remember that you can use this time for transformation. That whatever is painful or daunting can be temporary, and whatever seemingly deeply embedded cycles and family patters are opportunities for change.

Ask for support, reach out, treat yourself with extra loving kindness.

Today is Winter Solstice. Whether you are reading this today, or the day after, find comfort that the darkness will indeed give way into light. It’s a fact. Whatever dark, ugly or painful experience you may be living can give way to healing, transformation and lightness.

Today is the day the Sun stands still (the literal meaning of “solstice”). Today is the day the Sun gets as low as it can at midday — that’s why it “stands still”; it’s dipped as low as it can go and has stopped its decline. It’s the shortest day and longest night of the year. If you go out tomorrow it will be a wee bit higher at midday, and the day will be a tad longer, and of course, the darkness of night will be a little less.

Take the time today to find your inner solstice, peace and stillness, calm and centering, and draw from this strength through the rest of the season.

The solstice is a powerful time to align and energize your desires, knowing that indeed the darkness temporary and quite literally, tomorrow there will be more light.

For a Biblical reference, remember this: “While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the b.” ~ Jesus, John 12:36 from the Bible

You ARE a child of light, whatever your religion or spiritual inclination. You are a radiant soul, and your capacity to shine is always there, and is limitless.

Take a few moments to breathe, send gratitudes, set in intentions, create a mental web connecting you to everyone near and far that you wish to send love to and receive support from, and know that you have the tools.

If drinking is a challenge for you, re-read my guide “How to have a great night out without getting wasted.” (If you’re on my list, you should have already received it, but here it is again).