I've been sober for 360 days

Dave and Butler hanging out at Christmas

"I'm out at Papas on Holmes Cannery Rd. Roll through."

"Which house? I was so drunk last time I don't remember. I think I know but not completely sure."

Dave called and gave me the address. I wasn't even on the right road.

Dave drove us home for Christmas two years ago. I started drinking before we left Atlanta. I just didn't want to deal with life. It wasn't always that way, but it definitely became that way.

If you don't know me well, Dave is my childhood best friend. We met around age 13 in a small Southern baptist church in Harrison, GA. He knows everything there is to know about me. We have had the good fortune to be in each other's lives for 28 years. I can trust him to call me on my bullshit.

When we got to our first stop, his Papa's, I was embarrassingly drunk. By the time I got home I could only open presents and pass out.

It's incredible how much can change in two years, and how much can stay the same. This was my first sober Christmas. The joy I experienced watching my niece and nephew open gifts is indescribable. I love them so much. I want my parents to know a sober me. However, all the thoughts and feelings I numbed for so many years were still there, and even sober I wasn't strong enough to fix everything.

As was driving back on I20 towards Atlanta, I began to sob. I thought maybe this year it wouldn't happen. As I played Kenny and Dolly's "Once Upon a Christmas," the first tear fell. This song and album had been the soundtrack to so many childhood Christmases. I became overwhelmed with memories of a simpler time, and then I relived all the years since in my mind.

Feeling guilty for disturbing their Christmas, I selfishly reached out to friends, describing my thoughts and grasping for a frame of reference.

Drinking felt inevitable. I pulled over and dried my eyes the best I could so I could drop off gifts for my friends' children.

Humbled, I posted to a support group. Even though I helped start this group with other sober yogis, I was still ashamed to write what I was thinking.

I sat in a parking lot awhile before heading to Christmas dinner. Love sustained me through the night. I don't remember much more.

Today I am sober.