The Holiday Blues

A thought has occurred to me more than once: according to my recollections, I had the “holiday blues” more often after I quit drinking, than I did before.  I wonder why that was.  Isn’t sobriety, after all, supposed to entail an improvement?

“You didn’t feel the holiday blues back then because before you were drunk,” someone may answer.  Well, that is not exactly true.  One year on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I worked on writing papers all day, without feeling the least bit depressed.  On other pre-sobriety Thanksgivings and Christmases when I was alone, I drank some, but not a whole lot.  I look back on my pre-sobriety holidays alone, and they are a blur to me, whereas I actually remember each sobriety holiday alone.  These pre-sobriety holidays just came, and they went.  I enjoyed the time off from school.  Sometimes, I went to see a movie.  If I have any negative recollection of them, it was that I was often disappointed that I could not find anything open on those days.  But I figured that this was how the holidays were, and they would soon be over.

After my sobriety date, when I spent the holidays alone, I felt very depressed.  It was like I was consciously trying to make myself happy, since I was supposed to be happy on the holidays, and I was failing miserably.  One year was not that bad because I went to a few meetings, but in doing so I was consciously beating off the holiday blues.  I don’t remember doing that prior to my sobriety.

I don’t deal with holiday blues nowadays because I am not alone.  It’s just interesting to me that my pre-sobriety holidays alone were better than my sobriety holidays alone.  I wonder why that was.  Maybe it was because, in sobriety, I was starting to encounter people who wrestled with the holiday blues, so I was more aware of them.  Also, I had started blogging, so maybe thinking and reflecting too much made me unhappy.  I don’t know.  I will say one other thing, though: I have more good days in general in sobriety than I did before sobriety.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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1 Response to The Holiday Blues

  1. I an with you James; I know that in my case, alcohol numbed all negative emotion so my holiday blues were easily masked under layers of drink, but I would rather feel anything even sadness and hopelessness than ever go back to the way it was. To feel is to be alive. 🙂


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