You’ve reached the decision and decided to knock drinking on the head and embrace the sober lifestyle, you’re no longer drinking, you’re getting regular good exercise in and you’re eating healthily and treating your body like a temple.
Your sober journey is going well, you’re doing everything right but then…………………. November hits (if you’re lucky!) and the inevitability that Christmas is on its way again and panic starts to rear its ugly head.
Previous celebratory efforts that you may have indulged in during past Christmas seasons may make you believe that this holiday season might be a little tougher than before but at Sober Bubble we are here to help you manage that first merry yet sober Christmas and provide you with some tips to keep the demons at bay and keep yourself feeling fresh over Yuletide!
Avoid the Works Christmas Party
The works Christmas party in most cases is a booze fest, people book time off after and plan to get so drunk they’ll never remember it in a million years and treat it year after year as a reasonable excuse to get blind drunk.
This is not you. Not the new ‘sober’ you who has sworn off the drink and is now a role model for the sober life! Well maybe not quite yet but you’re making a hell of an effort to stay dry and sober so there are a few options when it comes to the work Christmas ‘do’!
- Don’t go! I’ve used this one myself on numerous occasions, it can help if you’ve friends or relatives with birthdays in December to use as an excuse for alternative celebrations. Try not to feel bad or guilty as you’ll feel worse if you end up succumbing to ‘just one drink’ due to peer pressure (or beer pressure if you like) from work colleagues who don’t care about your health anywhere near as much as you do. Try not to think of yourself as ‘anti-social’ and think of yourself more as ‘pro-sobriety’. It seems like an easy option, and it is, but Christmastime can be a hard time for a newly sober person and an easy option should be seen as a blessing, go next year when you’ve gained even more control over your old self.
- Be the designated Driver. This could increase your popularity and gives you options of a favour returned at some point in the future. Tell everyone you’re in the ‘giving’ mood this festive season.
If you do end up finding yourself at the works party just remember that there’s no shame in telling people that you’re no longer drinking and you may very well find that people are much more supportive than you initially realised and will be pleased to see that you’ve taken this forward thinking, positive step.
Someone’s Bought me Booze as a Gift
In my experience someone will always buy you alcohol (I gave up drinking in my mid 20s and am now 46), sometimes people just aren’t aware that you don’t drink and sometimes people just aren’t the most imaginative when it comes to buying presents and don’t venture beyond the drink aisle of the local supermarket.
Remember to tell people in advance that you no longer drink and will not be drinking in the future and if you find this difficult and end up with a bottle of the demon drink then your options are A. Regift it to someone who still drinks. B. Dispose of it down the most convenient sink or toilet asap before it tempts you.
If you’re new to the sober life, then we urge you not to have any alcohol in your home and keep it as a positive safe space for yourself. You may feel strong as an ox and focussing on your sober journey right now this minute but if temptation arises then you’ll feel better if it’s out of reach.
I Come from a Family of Drinkers!
Me too! Oh, the amusing stories I could regale you with for many a cold winter night or ten, as well as tell you many a tragic tale too.
If your family drinks whenever they are together socially then making sure to visit them over Christmas at times when they’re not going to be inebriated such as in the morning or early afternoon is likely your best option to keeping a social face over the Yuletide period.
A visit doesn’t have to be a drinking session and you’re far more likely to make retain memories of a Happy Christmas without having to resort to drinking!
Plan Sober Activities
Get your whole Christmas planned beforehand (especially if’s your first sober one) and keep it a busy one for the most part with plenty of activities that don’t include drinking.
It’s pantomime season (at least in the UK!) so book tickets for yourself and a younger family member to the local panto and have a great entertaining night out without the hangover you used to experience from a Christmas night out!
Another idea is to invite others that you may know in recovery round for a game’s night, get out those board games and poker chips and playing cards and spend the evening in like minded company. A few successful nights like these and you’ll see that you never needed alcohol to have a good time!
Organise a nice long winter walk as an antidote to visiting the local pub. Fresh air, exercise, and good company (whether two legged or four legged) will help you find your centre and gain balance during your first (and subsequent) sober Christmas.
A good winter walk we’ve found can help keep you clear headed beyond the actual walk itself!
Finally, if you’re going to find yourself alone over Christmas then make an active effort to find a local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting (many do run one on Christmas day and other holidays) to help support you in your first festive sober period.
If you’ve been in recovery a while and have made some likeminded friends, then try to organise a get together with them and make sure to support each other and help keep that sober journey ongoing for you all.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
If you want to keep Christmas all mistletoe and no wine, then the key is planning. There’s going to be times when you will feel anxiety and that things are spiralling out of control but that doesn’t have to be a problem, you can take yourself out of situations easily and it’s important for yourself and your recovery that you do this.
Forward planning increases your chances of success and helps prepare you for dealing with situations that previously would have resulted in you making a bad decision.
During your planning phase seek out others who’ve survived their first sober Christmas time as the experience and advice of others who’ve navigated this time soberly and successfully will be invaluable to a sober Christmas ‘noob’.
Don’t try to plan every single moment over the holidays as that just isn’t possible realistically and try to take Christmas as it presents itself and take pleasure in the simple things that come your way over the holiday.
One final planning idea is to plan this first sober Christmas as the first of many as a sober counter can be a great and valuable aid to those in recovery. Try to make that one sober Christmas into five and then ten and then so on and so forth.
Hopefully we’ve given you some good ideas on how to survive your first drink free Christmas season and beyond, remember to plan as much as you can in advance and keep in contact with sober buddies and support as you’re far more likely to succeed with company than without.
For more tips and sobriety encouragement, blogs, support and ideas on maintaining your sober lifestyle then please visit us at Sober Bubble and have a happy but not necessarily merry (at least in the drinking sense) Christmas!