Growing up, I thought of Passover as one of the “fun” Jewish Holidays. Despite being a celebration of Exodus, the Jews escape from slavery in Egypt, Passover allowed me to win money, sing songs, and in later, drink as much Manischewitz as I possibly could.
Attending a High School with a large Jewish population, kids would anticapte Passover. They would brag how much manischewitz or “schewitz” they could consume in front of their parents and grandparents.
As four cups of wine turned into 6, which turned into 8, I decided my family’s Passover seder was almost as good as a Saturday night kegger.
Now, two years later, and one year sober from alcohol and drugs, I wonder if Passover will hold the same meaning to me as it did while I was drinking. As a recovering addict and alocholic, I have to deal with “triggers” on a daily basis. In the world of recovery, a trigger is a person, place, or thing, that can bring up feelings and cravings of wanting to use drugs or alcohol. Eventhough I associate Passover with drinking, it is not something I need to aviod for the rest of my life just so that I wont be triggered to drink.
Holidays in general can be very difficult for recoving addicts. New Years, Thanksgiving, and Christmas can bring of feelings of lonliness, and dissapointment due to unmet expectations and hurtful memories. Jewish holidays such as Passover can bring up the same feelings.
Fortunately for myself, I have learned in sobriety ways to expirience the holidays without having to pick up a drink. The fellowship that surrounds me offers support, and care. 12-step groups such as Alocholics Anonymous tend to have meetings every hour during the more widley celebrated holidays. It is also important to set boundaries for yourself. Although showing up for your family is important, if you don’t feel like you can handle a dinner or a situation without using it is ok to say no!
Holidays can be hard times for recovering addicts. Although I used to associate Passover with drinking, I also associate it with friends and familiy. If I can focus on that part of the holiday I know I can get through it without practicing old behaviors that relate to my addiction.
For more information on how to stay sober through holidays please visit this blog on Treatment 4 Addiction.