I never would have thought this possible but it was one of the best New Year’s celebrations I have had in decades. In the past, I would submit myself to the same old cycle of high expectations, drunken -yet anxious- partying, excessive drinking, possible drug use, probable black out and risky behavior, followed by a crash and two-day hangover. I would come out of it starting the new year feeling exhausted, useless, disappointed and guilty, setting resolutions to try and atone for my addictive behaviors and inability to overcome my “overindulgence”. Repeat for the last 10 years or so. This year, I purposefully decided to avoid spending New Year’s Eve in Paris (with its nightclubs and pressure to party hard and take ecstasy and dance until 7 am, Paris on New Year’s can be a deathtrap to anyone trying to stay sober — plus I am getting too old for all that).
So… unconventionally, I flew back to the USA on December 30th, with no special plans.
With a very close friend we did improvise a sober dinner party for 5 people at mine on New Year’s Eve – something simple, no expectations, no pressure. So there we were, my close friends, my boyfriend, my cat and I, all in our early thirties (except for the cat ^^), eating, drinking tea, having a wonderful evening, chatting and connecting in deep, meaningful conversation. The absolute opposite of the Christmas I spent in France with my family, with its excessive overeating and drunken tension, all surface and no depth. The cherry on the cake? My friends all went home at 9:00 pm, and my boyfriend and I crawled into bed at 9:30 PM !!! No joke ! (ok, ok, the jet lag from my trip to France had a lot to do with it). Then he and I kept the deep conversation (and love making) going until midnight and wished each other a happy new year as we hugged to the sounds of fireworks and drunk people shouting in the streets, marveling at our sobriety (he doesn’t really drink and quit smoking pot a couple of months before I stopped drinking), fully immersed in the intense joy of just being : of being alive (and in love) and celebrating the passing of time, which can turn every minute into an ongoing celebration — and every single day of this year since I went AF has been a celebration of some sorts. And has definitely been intense. Lying there in the dark I felt like New Year’s day is and should be every day, like once you open up to it, every second of the day can be filled with intensity and joy.
Around the dinner table, each one of us shared a resolution for 2020. It wasn’t your usual “lose weight make more money”. For perhaps the first time ever, I felt like I didn’t have some horrible behavior that I urgently need to change or part of myself that I hate and want to suppress. I felt and feel at peace with myself. My friend’s resolution was “let go and improvise more”. Mine was “address the anxiety that has caused me to bite/massacre my fingernails for the last 20 years”. In other words, I am starting the New Year already loving myself, and wanting to lovingly take care of others and myself in a gentle, caring, joyful, non-urgent way. May I share this simple joy with everyone I cross paths with (whether online or in “real” life) and may others be lucky enough to feel the joy of being at peace with oneself 🙂 I am truly grateful to every single one of you here and wish you happiness and abundance for every second of this New Year 🙂
Hang in there