staying sober for the holidays

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, but especially people trying to quit drinking. Fresh Air contributor Sarah Hepola remembers how hard her first year without alcohol was:

“Back when I was drinking, I loved the holiday season, because it was a time of year when getting blasted was perfectly acceptable.

Eat, drink and be merry? Hey, I’m just following the rules here.

Between open bars, champagne toasts and office parties, the month of December was one long pub crawl for me, and if I drank too much — and I always drank too much — I could absolve myself on Jan. 1, when I swore to a bunch of resolutions I would inevitably break about two weeks later.

I’ve made so many false promises on New Year’s Day, you’d think I was running for office.

But six years ago, my party wagon came to a halt. I was tired of embarrassing myself, tired of hangovers. I was 35 years old when I got sober. And though I knew a few things, one question completely flummoxed me: How do you get through the holidays without drinking?”

Staying Sober? Here’s How To Eat, Not Drink And Still Be Merry

Title: Peace I Leave With You, 22/27-ish?

Fandom: OUAT

Rating: M

Word Count: ~6,400

Summary: When Emma needs a friend in Storybrooke, she finds one in the sinfully attractive priest Killian Jones. AU starting in season 1.

Notes: I managed to finish this one while I was sick in bed, so I guess there are some upsides to being ill. We’re moving into the home stretch. I decided to veer slightly further from canon for the final chapters, but I’ve put some fun twists in there. Also, much thanks to artielu and angelicbeing for some brainstorming help. Hope you enjoy! Disclaimer: Lines of dialog from the show are quoted in this chapter – none of it belongs to me, etc. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21

Or read on Ao3

I received a request for recaps since my updates are far apart, so I’ll give that a try.

Previously in PILWY: With Johanna’s murderer still on the loose in Storybrooke, Emma and Henry leave for New York with Gold, only to discover that Neal and Baelfire are one and the same. Still reeling from that news, Killian is captured by Regina and Cora - who faked her death at the well. They torture him and Belle to get the location of the dagger. Killian helps Belle escape, but faces more torture before David rescues him. Learning of Killian’s capture, Emma and company race home. Killian is severely wounded in the hospital, and Gold helps Emma use her magic to heal him. After placing protection spells around town, Emma visits Killian and they share a night of passion. Killian confesses his love.

-

Emma knows she needs to get home to Henry. She doesn’t intend to fall asleep. But after the terror and exhaustion of the day the exquisite peace she feels wrapped up in Killian’s arms is too much for her, and she drifts off.

Sometime later the feeling of Killian twitching and shaking beside her rouses her to a state of nervous alertness. She starts up from her pillow, but seeing no threats in the dim moonlight that fills the room, she turns to look back at Killian.

His eyes are still shut, but he shakes his head back and forth, his body jerking every few seconds. A steady murmur of half-distinct words issues from his mouth. “No… mmhhnn…don’t know…ngh…don’t know…stop…please stop…”

His mutterings take on a more insistent and panicked tone as they go on.

Emma sucks on her bottom lip, uncertain of what to do. She’s had her share of nightmares in her lifetime, but she’s always coped with them on her own. She’s seen movies and read books where parents comfort children with nightmares or lovers comfort one another, but it’s something that’s never been done for her, and she has no idea how to do it for him, either.

She extends a tentative hand to brush against his shoulder. “Killian?” she whispers.

He gasps, his whole body goes ridged, and his eyes fly open, staring sightlessly at the ceiling. He takes a few deep breaths, and Emma sees his fingers dig into the sheets, curling into a grasping fist.

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