New Year's Eve was never my holiday.
It is the evening of unmet expectations -- all fuse, no boom.
Amateur night in the bars (and on the roads).
When I was drinking I was always sure that the next party was the outrageous one, the next bar was the hot one -- and in sobriety I still feel like New Year's Eve doesn't quite live up to its reputation, whether I wear a tux or a t-shirt. Don't get me wrong, it's fun ... you dance, you hug friends, the countdown happens and you kiss someone (or you don't) -- but to me it's always the tiniest bit of a let down at 12:01am.
But New Year's Day?
Aaaah, now that's my kind of holiday.
It's the one day a year when I feel like the whole world has some insight into some of the most powerful ideas Alcoholics Anonymous offers: Just for Today/One Day At A Time.
New Year's Day is the day when anyone in the world who wants a blank slate, a fresh start, embraces the idea that they can have one. Sure, it's all wrapped up in pledges bound to the tick of the clock, the turn of the calendar page -- but at heart, it is about the now, the today, the in-the-moment power of not doing things this day the way you did them yesterday: "Starting today, just for today, I'm going to (not going to)..."
New Year's Day, when all the little birds with broken wings and broken dreams look up and say, "Ok, today I'm going to try limping up into the sky one more time."
Is there any other day that so beautifully captures, for the rest of the world, the essence of AA's "one day at a time"?
New Year's Day, when the memory of all the defeats, all the disappointments, all the times you look at yourself in the mirror (or in the inventory) and think, with such crushing despair, "how did I get here?" (or the even more cruelly disheartening, "how did I get here again?") loses its power to make you weep and think you should give up ever trying to change.
New Year's Day -- which, in truth, is just. any. other. day.
The transformative power of Alcoholics Anonymous is that the energy, the buoyant hope, the opportunity to change and lift ourselves up, to be different and better no matter how many times we've fallen down -- to be the miracle that says "No! My past is not my future, what I did yesterday will not dictate what I do today!" -- that power comes with every sober 24 hours, with every morning you wake, with every commitment made to stay clean and sober, one day at a time.
Truly, no matter what your faith, regardless of your philosophy, all we have is today. The future is no more (or less) uncertain than it ever was. All we have is today -- and if we view it as such, we can do almost anything "just for today."
And on New Year's Day, that particular "today" is filled with whatever promise you choose to give it.
Just like every