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How an angel keeps me sober during the holidays

And here we are! Deep into the trifecta of partying – Thanksgiving, Christmas/Kwanza/Hanukkah and New Years! More triggers than a gun show.

It’s easy to romanticize my drinking this time of the year. All the wonderful holiday memories with a cup or six of spiked eggnog or a couple bottles of champagne. The epic hangovers seem to slip my mind this time of the year.

Staying sober during the holidays means finding new holiday traditions. For me, it means connecting with my inner angel, Clarence. Remember Clarence, the dopey but adorable angel from the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” with actor Jimmy Stewart?

After George Bailey (Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel, Clarence, is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. Clarence begins to show George what life would have been like for his loved ones had he not been born. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.

In my little holiday classic, my angel shows me what life would have been like for my loved ones had I not gotten sober. It’s not a happy story – especially for my daughter. I don’t like to dwell on the wreckage of my past. But the wreckage of my future is worth looking at once a year to remind me that the gift of sobriety is more precious than anything under the tree this year.

How an angel keeps me sober during the holidays

Christine Stapleton

Christine Stapleton has been a journalist for 35 years. She is now an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post. In 2006, began writing a blog for PsychCentral called Depression on My Mind. Her latest blog, Addiction Matters, draws on her 19 years of sobriety and her coverage of the drug treatment industry in South Florida.

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APA Reference
Stapleton, C. (2017). How an angel keeps me sober during the holidays. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 27, 2019, from


Last updated: 12 Dec 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Dec 2017
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