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Grapevine : December 2011
the block to look and take some pic- tures, and there was a woman in front of one of the houses with a bar- becue and a log on it (the kind you buy for fireplaces). She and I spoke, and she asked where I was from and if we were just visiting. I told her that we lived here now and how I just couldn’t seem to adjust, and she said she felt the same way 30 years ago when she came here from Ohio, but gave herself some time to adjust to change and now she could not imagine being anywhere else. At that point I noticed across the street, sitting in front of the nicest house on the block, an older gentleman dressed as Santa sitting on a bench with a big pile of candy canes beside him and a bucket. I im- mediately thought the bucket was for money and walked over to put some money in. He asked what I was doing, and I told him giving money. His reply was “Oh no, I do this be- cause I want to. It makes people happy, and I’m glad to give some- thing back since I am so fortunate.” He invited me to sit beside him and we spoke a bit about being far from what you are used to, being grateful for having what you do and looking for happiness inside yourself. He then asked me if I would like to take a picture with him and told me to get my husband over by him too. As he handed me a candy cane and we said goodbye, I was reminded of all that I had in this world, thanks to my being sober one day at a time. All the things I said thank you to God for every morning now had meaning again. It is not where you are—it is how you are that matters. It’s giving without receiving or ex- pecting to receive. It’s being happy with whatever you have and not wanting what you don’t. It’s being where you’re supposed to be for whatever reason and being grateful that you are not lying in a gutter or holed up in a room all alone needing or craving another drink. It’s about having family and missing them, and them missing you because they love you and want you around. I remembered that I was here in Arizona with my husband so we could have that better life we both dreamed of and worked so hard for. this was where we wanted to be— sober, happy, warm and together in love. thank you Santa, for helping me to remember that on my first Christmas in Arizona. P.S . Phoenix, Ariz. On the outside I baked cookies, wrapped gifts, made phone calls ... but my heart was heavy. 24 December 2011 GRAPE_20-24.indd 24 10/28/11 2:23 PM