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With the holidays approaching, it’s good to reflect on the many roles I’ll be playing and/or not playing this season. This time of year always brings the actor out on stage: the loving father. The providing husband. The prodigal son. The resentful underachiever. The dry drunk. The hot mess pulled from his warm rut.

Step 6: were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

These events serve as annual updates: a sizing-up and tallying, a sharing and getting caught up with family and friends. How many years can my response be, “same old, same old, can’t complain. How about you?”

Even though there are things I could share, they seem to shrink and diminish once surrounded be the largess of loved ones. Opulence, like rainy days and Mondays, etc. I can’t compete, nor do I remember why I want to. Those near me? They’re the winners.

That’s classic alcoholic thinking. So, in response, I dehumanize those I care about. I feel sorry for them, the lobotomized sell-outs. I won’t be pulled into a conversation regarding a thousand dollar grill that Ted is getting himself for Christmas.

Imagine how fun I was at these things.

Now, today and 2 others before the end of the year: I just need to suit up and show up. Smile politely and feel empathic joy for whatever is being discussed. Be willing to find interest in benign discussions without anger and judgement. Even though I want to scream, “no one has ever made soup on a grill, ever, and what’s the fuckin’ point when your stove is ten feet away?”, I don’t. Because it’s not about the grill or the soup. It’s about the interaction. My program works when the words become superfluous, and I concentrate on the heart, both theirs and mine.

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