Tradition and Transition – Christmas in Rehab

Traditions are the mainstay of holidays.  We all look forward to certain activities, foods, friends and family.  We hold to these and honor the way we’ve always done things but sometimes changes come along.  Like some many things in life, we can view change as challenge or opportunity.

This year, our Christmas celebration will be different and although that brings nostalgia and a certain discomfort with the prospect of changing tradition, it also comes with hope.  One big part of our changed tradition this year will be that our son is in rehab; he will miss being part of our traditional gathering and activity, and he is understandably a bit sad about this.  In sober times and high times, he’s always been a key personality in our holidays.

Instead, his treatment center is holding visiting hours on Christmas Day from 12:30 to 4 p.m.  Ordinarily, this is the time we would be preparing and enjoying a feast at his grandmother’s house.  The choice of where to be and what to do is obvious for us.  We will be heading over the river and through the woods to the treatment center – mom, dad, big sister and little brother.  We’ll be bringing commercially-prepared treats (my homemade cookies, fudge and peanut butter balls are stashed in the freezer for him to enjoy upon his release in the new year).  We’ll be bringing a bag full of toys (games, actually) to enjoy as a family — UNO, Cribbage, Yahtzee and others.  While it will be a different Christmas Day celebration, it will be no less of a celebration, and one we are all looking forward to.

All that positivity aside, I speak the truth when I know how odd it will feel when he’s not at our dining room table on Christmas Eve for our family’s dinner, and it will be awfully quiet on Christmas morning when he’s not there to discover what Santa left in his stocking or open presents.  At the same time, he’s a young adult and would be transitioning to new holiday routines anyway at some point, so sobriety and recovery are an excellent way to make the transition.

Happy holidays, all!

Midwestern Mama


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