Sobriety, The Gift That Keeps On Giving


Xavier KataquapitIt’s Christmas. This should be a time of joy and wonderful experiences for everyone and in particular children. The problem is that too many kids will be living nightmares because of alcohol and drug addictions.

This time of year is portrayed and promoted as the season when families get together to celebrate this ancient Christian tradition. Normally there is a lot of food, all sorts of presents and a dazzling Christmas tree. It should be the perfect opportunity for every small child to experience what is supposed to be a happy holiday.

The truth is that even though the Christmas music is playing and all the glitter of the yule tide season is everywhere things are just not right. How many children will have to endure a family get together where most of the people are drunk or stoned out of their brains? How many children will witness violence, abuse and anxiety all because those adults that they look up to are out of the minds and not in control at the most special time of the year.

Very few of us have experienced life without being touched by alcohol or drug abuse. I am very thankful to be living a life today of sobriety. The only way I can stay sober is to remind myself constantly that I am not in denial about being an alcoholic. I have no shame of being stricken with this disease and I am very happy to be in recovery. Still, I know that I am very lucky and that many people are still living difficult lives because of alcohol and drug addictions. The sad part is, their children suffer the most.

Drug and alcohol abuse is wide spread and it is not just affecting one culture or one segment of society. You can be poor, wealthy, educated or of any race, religion or creed and still be sick with an addiction. This time of the year offers a great opportunity to have a look in the mirror.

If your Christmas has a lot to do with drinking alcohol or taking any kind of drug, then it just might occur to you that this could be a problem. If you end up passing out, blacking out or doing something stupid because of your drinking or drug use this Christmas, it could be you are an alcoholic or drug addict. Figuring out something as incredibly important as an addiction at this time in your life would be a gift to yourself.

Perhaps the best gift you could give your children this Christmas would be one of self discovery. If this Christmas is going to be hell for your children because of your alcoholism or drug addiction, then this is the perfect time to get some help.

Merhaps you are part of a family cycle that has been alcohol or drug addicted for generations. You could put a stop to that now for the sake of your children and future generations. Why should your child have to worry about being safe when you are drinking or using drugs? Why should your child be terrified that at any moment something terrible could happen in the household because all the adults are drunk or using drugs? Why should your child have to live with Christmas memories that are nightmares?

We all do our best to provide the best gifts we can for our loved ones at Christmas. We spend a lot of money and we go out of our way to make sure there is something under the tree for those we care about. Maybe the very best gift anyone could ever give their child and their loved ones at Christmas is the realization of alcohol or drug addiction. Once a person admits they have a problem, then they come out of denial. Once someone is out of denial then it is possible to ask for help. Getting sober is not something you can do alone. In the same way that recovering from any disease is not possible without expertise.

If you think that you have an alcohol or drug addiction then this Christmas would be the best time ever to deal with it. Sobriety is the gift that keeps on giving to your children and all of your loved ones. Help is only a phone call away. You can look up your local number for Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous so that you can meet with someone who has experience and is living sober. If you live in a remote Native community, you should get in touch with a community health care worker, the nearest treatment centre in your area or a National Native Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention (NNADAP) Worker for assistance.

So Merry Christmas to one and all and if these words have helped you in some way, please accept them as my personal gift to you.

Xavier Kataquapit

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Under The Northern Sky is the title of a popular Aboriginal news column written by First Nation writer, Xavier Kataquapit, who is originally from Attawapiskat Ontario on the James Bay coast. He has been writing the column since 1997 and it is is published regularly in newspapers across Canada. In addition to working as a First Nation columnist, his writing has been featured on various Canadian radio broadcast programs. Xavier writes about his experiences as a First Nation Cree person. He has provided much insight into the James Bay Cree in regards to his people’s culture and traditions. As a Cree writer, his stories tell of the people on the land in the area of Attawapiskat First Nation were he was born and raised.