This is why I spent Christmas holidays alone, getting drunk and doing drugs

I was an addict, alcoholic, abuser and addictive for more than 13 years. Every day I took a lethal combination of 40-60 pills, medicine, drugs like amphetamine and cocaine – and mixed it all with alcohol and marihuana. The holidays, especially Christmas & New Year’s Eve – was really bad. It was here that my abuse always exploded.

This is why I spent Christmas holidays alone, getting drunk and doing drugs

Me and my grandfather

But it was always accompanied by me not being able to keep up with my appointments, I hurt the ones that were closest to me, I isolated myself, my abuse got worse and I was confronted with it all sometime in January. Christmas was hard on me because I have experienced so much shit around Christmas and the holidays, so when I became approximately 18 years old and my abuse got really serious, then I was incredibly high, stoned, drunk in the Christmas days.

Drugs, alcohol, pills and medicine could tranquilize all the crap I was feeling on the inside, so I thought I could make it well past the Christmas days. I couldn’t. In reality, my abuse pushed my family and friends further and further away from me. It interfered with my work, my colleagues, my family, my girlfriend, my girlfriends family, my friends and of course myself. Christmas for me has been a mixed experience throughout my life. My mom and dad got divorced when I was one and my mother, who was an alcoholic, primarily raised me. She got totally drunk, almost every Christmas. She could not deal with the holidays and festivals, not always anyway.

I remember a Christmas when I was 8 years old. My mother wanted to host Christmas at our house. My grandfather and I was supposed to be there. That December my mother had been on antabuse treatment and she had bought delicious Christmas food, bought presents and I can clearly remember myself thinking: “I wonder if she actually makes it this time?” On Christmas day I was playing with my good friend Stig and my mother prepared the dinner and set the dinner table and I remember how happy I was that day. Around dinnertime I felt right away that something had changed in the way my mother talked and moved around. I could detect if my mother had been drinking within a radius of 2 miles.

From I was very little until my mother died in 2003, I could just by listening to my mother’s footsteps notice if she had been drinking or not. So to everyone who thinks they can hide their abuse and intoxication from children: Forget it. Children feel the difference right away. Even if it doesn’t smell or can’t be seen.

That day of Christmas Eve my mother began drinking cherry wine. My friend Stig was going home to his family and over the afternoon I became all alone with my mother. My mother proceeded with the preparations for the food and Christmas Eve, while I found the cherry wine she was drinking off, in the closet with towels in the bathroom. I knew my mother had been drinking, but when I found the bottle half-empty it got tangible and I went up to my room.

Me, Martin, 2 years old

Me, Martin, 2 years old

Now the time was approximately 3 pm. My mother had been sweet and nice all morning and Stig and I had received Christmas candy and had enjoyed ourselves and played together throughout the day. Now nightfall was arriving, as it does early in December, I sat alone in my room, 8 years old and playing with LEGO and knew deep down that Christmas was going to be shit now.

When I realized that my mother was drinking many reactions happened inside me within a few seconds. I retreated into myself. I didn’t speak to my mother. I removed myself physically from her. I negated her: Which meant that everything she said, did and was, I hated per definition. I was filled with a huge amount of shamefulness, because I thought my mother was extremely embarrassing when she was under the influence – whether we were alone, or at a parenting meeting at school or in the city somewhere, I was so embarrassed by my mother and her intoxicating behavior. I was filled with a form of guilt and deep sadness; “why was alcohol and pills more important to her, than spending Christmas with me, her son?” She knew I got sad and broken, when she was drinking – why did she keep drinking? Was I a bad son? Was it my fault that she was drinking?

I also felt the loneliness and … “wrongness”. I have always felt that I was alone and that I was wrong and all the others were right and normal. Many thoughts and feelings ran through my little 8 year old brain and body, so the only thing I could do was to remove myself from her and isolate myself – and use what I had.


I had LEGO in my room, I had a tape recorder that could play audio books like for example: “The Jungle book”. So here I sat in my room and played until the clock had become 7 pm. and my granddad arrived in his fine outfit with a couple of presents and was going to celebrate Christmas. I hadn’t seen anything of my mother since 3 ‘o’ clock; she had fallen asleep on the couch with two bottles of cherry wine laying on the floor and a package of medicine (alopam) laying on the coffee table. The roast duck had been in the oven since noon and was all burned. Potatoes, red cabbage, French potatoes and the small pill potatoes, for browned potatoes – it was all still standing in its respective bags and containers and wasn’t any closer to becoming Christmas dinner, than when it was stored at the grocer.

My grandfather was quick to decide what was going to happen. So he called on me; and packed me, my presents, my LEGO and some of the food together – and then we drove to his place. I didn’t see my mother until several days later. My granddad got me some clean clothes and then I stayed with him for a few days. I don’t think my mother said sorry or explained to me why that Christmas Eve went the way it did, so I accepted that life is like that sometimes.

Me, my mother and my grandmother

Me, my mother and my grandmother

Christmas, New Year and festivals – can – for me, Martin as 8 years old – be a lonely day filled with negative emotions. I am deeply grateful that my granddad picked me up that day and hosted my Christmas in the best way he could. I have also had countless Christmas Eves and New Year’s Eves and other holidays, which have been good. At my uncle and aunt, at my dad and Bodils place, at my friends and girlfriends and their families. There have through the years been many good experiences – and I am deeply grateful for being able to stay with them, when my mother couldn’t handle it.

The ambivalent part about the whole Christmas, New Year, Birthday and Holiday-term is that I always feel wrong and different compared to others. It was very pronounced and clear to me as a child. Remember; already as very young I have had really tiresome experiences with my mother and abuse around Christmas. So spending Christmas somewhere else, because my mother was under the influence, was on one side great – because then I was allowed to experience a “good” Christmas. But on the other side I have always sat Christmas & New Year’s Eve and felt pushy, wrong, different – and I felt like a homeless being favored a Christmas Eve at the master and mistress.

I did love my mother and missed her, at least all my little heart can/could. I am well aware that all the sweet families that I have spent Christmas with did it in a good meaning – and they have given everything they had to make it a good evening for me and everyone else. It just doesn’t remove the emptiness and loneliness and the great need I had inside me in these days. There wasn’t anything I rather would, than to spent Christmas and New Years and all others days with my beloved mother Janne. It just wasn’t possible.

For me as a little boy sitting with lovely friends or great family Christmas Eve and enjoying the dinner, Christmas tree, comfort, atmosphere, Christmas TV, candy, gifts; experience the atmosphere and the togetherness they had with each other was great: but at the same time it made me well aware of how wrong I was. How different my family was. How alone and lonely I was. Yes, how wrong I was – and how “right” all the others were.

This wrongness, loneliness and emptiness – have always filled me up in the Christmas days, at birthdays and other holidays. I have the same experiences around Easter, birthdays and so on. That’s why I became more and more careless about the festivals – It is obvious that – the older I became, the more it hurt inside me.

Then it was easier to ignore the holidays and for example choose to sit alone on Christmas Eve and enjoy my own company. I have been alone Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, on my birthdays and in many other festivals. Sometimes I lied about it, so my family, friends and girlfriend believed that I had someone to be with. As I knew they wouldn’t like me sitting alone: “You can just be with us, Martin. You are not sitting home alone”. But the older I got, the more it hurt to be with “ordinary” people in the festivals, because I got more and more aware of how wrong I was.

When I was approximately 18 years old my abuse and addiction kicked off – and as I began with I was an addict and abuser, every day, for more than 13 years. When I was approximately 15 years old my mother met a man, who she married. He was also an alcoholic and together it had the effect that I never saw my mother on festivals ever again, except my 18 year old birthday, which my mother and Bjarne hosted where they both were on antabuse for exactly a month.

Me, 1999

Me – addict, 1999

But now my abuse of pills, medicine, drugs, alcohol and marihuana had begun. The advantage of my own abuse was that I could tranquilize my sense of emptiness, sadness and “wrongness” and have some fine festivals as I was 18, 19 and 20 years old. Or so I thought. As more years went by as an addict, the more wrong I felt and the bigger of an idiot I thought I was.

I was well aware that (deep inside) it wasn’t a good idea to drink, do drugs or eat pills at home, at work, or visiting friends and family. But it became a negative spiral: the more wrong I felt, the more drugs / alcohol I used – the more wrong I felt, the more alcohol and drugs it took to tranquilize it – and the more wrong I felt… and like that the spiral continued. All of this despite having great people in my life, friends, family and girlfriends who all wanted to help me. I was welcome to spent Christmas, New Years and birthday at their place.

I have spent countless festivals at my dad and siblings place – and also at my uncle and aunts and have been with my good friend Stig – and I am you all deeply grateful for your hospitality and that you could and wanted to have me there, but again, being together with what I saw as “right” or “ordinary” people, just clarified even more how wrong I was. Especially when I became and was an addicted abuser. Then it is just easier to sit alone, because then I could decide what was going to happen and how the festival, Christmas for example, should be.

So in 2004 I moved 100 miles away from all who loved me. Away from the closeness and away from family and friends. I wanted to be alone. I isolated myself. I couldn’t be close to all the “real and normal” people anymore.

The drugs, pills, medicine, alcohol and addiction had a decisive lead over me, my mother was dead – my uncle was dead and suddenly I could relate to, why my mother have had such a difficult time at Christmas and the festivals. Whatever she tried to tranquilize within herself, became extra clear in the days of Christmas and because of that she often wounded up constantly under the influence from November to January, where she maybe was hospitalized for detoxification – and then all over again at Easter – and then all over again in July where my birthdays was – and so on.

December 22. 2004 I sat alone and had declined all invitations regarding Christmas and New Year’s. I had shopped at my pusher and at 4 apothecaries in the area and I had done a bit of food shopping  – and when I got home, I knew that I had food, drugs, pills, medicine and alcohol enough until the 28th of December, where I could go shopping again. Then I was filled with a calmness and satisfaction within. Even though it was lonely to sit alone in the days of Christmas and being constantly stoned, high and intoxicated; at that time I thought it was better being here alone, abuser, junkie and addict – than sitting with my sister or father who loved me.

Me, mother and father

Me, mother and father

When I was alone it was because I made the decision myself, that made it all easier. I could tranquilize the emptiness, sadness and wrongness for a while. Only to wake up feeling even worse, which needed to be drugged again. So it wasn’t anything that helped me out in the long haul – but in the days of Christmas it felt like the right solution, back then.

When I was in my 20’ies I had been an addict and drug abuser for approximately 7 years and just as Christmas was approaching I felt like shit. All the experiences with my mother and the feeling of being “poor” and being all wrong and different than all the “normal” people, made every day in December unbearable. I retreated into myself and isolated myself as I had been doing since I was a boy. I tried to the best of my ability to navigate through Christmas and New Year, by being as drugged and affected as possible.

When I asked my mother – and when other people asked me: “Why do you drink / do drugs at Christmas? Christmas is supposed to be a lovely time with the family, with good food, love and joy?” Then it was because I from an early age felt wrong compared to everyone else. I felt empty and lonely – and alone. When I sat at my dad’s, or my uncle and aunts, at good friends or girlfriends on Christmas Eve, then I am fully aware that they all want the best for me and wanted to give me the best Christmas ever; but I couldn’t choose my own emotions. They filled me up, without me being able to control any of them.

We could sit a Christmas Eve at my dad and Bodils and my siblings. Here is safe, here is warmth, here is good food, presents, Disney’s Christmas Show and it was great; however the thing I was filled with was that I missed my mother and wanted to share it with her. All the good and safe just clarified how “little” I had in my life. I didn’t see a Christmas like that at my dad’s place to be a part of my life, I saw it as me being allowed to take part of their lives. At some point the Christmas vacation ended and I was supposed to go home to my mother and a new chaos began.

The more years that went, the more aware I become of that I was wrong and lonely. My own thoughts, actions and my abuse were of course contributing to make me more lonely and “wrong”. The negative feelings got bigger and more obvious, they needed more and more tranquilization. The feelings of loneliness, emptiness and wrongness in the festivals was unbearable, especially at Christmas – that’s why I sat alone and spent my Christmas holidays getting drunk and doing drugs.

The thing that helped me was becoming clean and drug-free in 2010. The treatment was at a public treatment center in Denmark and lasted from November 2009 to July 2010. Just as slowly I started to discover that I was okay. As time passed I built a feeling of being worth something and my faith in being able to cope with life in a good way grew.

The festivals have gotten another and more positive meaning now. Now I can enjoy Christmas with family, girlfriend and be a part of the events – without feeling that I am wrong or that I am “visiting someone else life”. Now it is my own life that contains good people and nice holidays.

Me and my girlfriend Lea 2014

Me and my girlfriend Lea 2015

This is definitely because of my sweet family, my girlfriend and her family and our friends. The difference is that I feel I am worth something now. I feel that I am good enough. I feel that me tagging along, means my contribution is as good as the others. This makes me able to participate in Christmas and other festivals on even terms with everyone else – and that makes Christmas fun to me and my family.


Of course I wish that I could share it all with my deceased, beloved mother and granddad – but I have so many wonderful people in my life now – plus – most important of all, I feel I deserve it – I feel that I am good enough to be a part of it. I feel that I have something to contribute; I have never felt that before. Now I am enjoying the Christmas vacation and preparing for the final exams in psychology and business economics in January.

Thanks for me not being alone anymore – and thanks to you who have read along all the way to here.

If you like, you can read about how I became an addict here (click)

If you like, you can read about how I became drug free here (click)

Christmas greetings and a happy New Year

Martin Bødker Fritzen

By |April 14th, 2018|My Story|Comments Off on This is why I spent Christmas holidays alone, getting drunk and doing drugs