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Positive Thinking – Negative Thinking – Reality
October 30, 2023
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Program Fellowship
November 30, 2023

Despite the seeming loss of much of its true significance, the holiday season is a time of great joy to more people than any other occasion during the year. Why? Because people experience, in a limited way at least, the joy that comes from giving.

We should not be critical of those who simply know of no expression except that of a material gift. From this effort for their own family and friends, many of them are led to some consideration, however small, of the less fortunate stranger. This is at least a small start toward doing for others. And, after all, that is the true spirit of the Christmas day.

Even though sobriety is with us, the year-end holiday season is actually a time of hazard in our lives. Before sobriety we almost never got through it without hurting ourselves and others. For those of us still in the shaky beginnings, the loss of sobriety itself may be a real danger.

This might also apply to the complacent ones in our midst. Then we know that we have a large segment of our fellowship whose home situations may be far from ideal, or perhaps there is none at all. It is easy for these to observe happy festive homes and then fall into the toils of self-pity at Christmas time. For all of these, the newcomers, the homeless, the complacent and many others, the season is a good time to step up meeting attendance, hospital calls and the like.

Nowhere can the spirit of Christmas be more truly felt than in our own communion, one with the other. For yourself and all of those who care about you, could anything be more wonderful or welcome than your first sober Christmas in many years?

There are many other hazards too. This is a time when all of us instinctively look back over the old year. To the extent that the wisdom of its experience is important, this is all to the good.

But beyond that it is all to the bad. Aside from wisdom what can memory bring us ? Only pride over our accomplishment, which is in itself dangerous. Or, it may be remorse over our failure which drops us into that self-pity vat again with a sickening thud. We also have the instinct in this season, to look ahead. That involves merely scheming, or at worst, apprehension. Remember when you took a drink because of your fear of tomorrow?

Above all, at the Christmas Season, let us think of the other fellow. However humble and difficult our circumstances may be, there are others less fortunate. And in relation to those who still suffer, we have the gift of being able to help, a sacred precious gift which far transcends any tangible gift in a box. If they are willing and ready for this gift, what finer Christmas could anyone have than to be able to help them?

And if they are not ready, then the tragic sight of them alone shows us our own blessing this Christmas, a sober life of reality. Let us be tolerant and kindly toward those whose only gift must come in pretty wrappings.

Central Bulletin Editor, December 1960

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.