We’ve had some pretty substantial moments recently as a family. One being our son’s acceptance into college. Both my son and I toasted his achievement when he got into the college of choice.

We both knew what was missing. His toast with his dad.

There have been many moments that my husband hasn’t partaken in since his sobriety. New Year’s Eve champagne toasts, 4th of July beers on the boat with family, things like that. We have all kind of “rolled with the tide,” and don’t make alcohol a centerpiece in our holidays, celebrations, events, or experiences.

But what is it like to not be able to join in, and celebrate these memorable moments, especially with his son? I thought it was important to ask this question, to better understand where he is now in his journey.

I sat down and asked him about it over one of our Saturday morning coffee dates. And here’s what he said:

  • You don’t realize the simple traditions of celebration can become complex emotional issues.
  • Grieving those moments of prideful excitement suddenly remind me of shameful letdowns.
  • Sometimes you don’t look forward to future celebrations knowing you can’t partake.
  • It’s easy to go right back into self loathing and negative self talk when seeing others celebrate.

Understanding these thoughts and feelings allows us to continue on our journey together celebrating the good, while being sensitive to reality. And, finding other ways to include and celebrate continue to be at the top of our list.