Why You Need a Plan to Stay Sober During Christmas
As I sit here with my head full of Christmas thoughts such as ‘OMG it is too early to think about Christmas’, I am reminded that for some people, especially after this year (2020) it may already be conjuring up feelings of anxiety and dread as there is talk of having something to celebrate. It is the time of year associated with alcohol like no other, and if you are trying to stay sober during Christmas, then it comes as no surprise that it is probably one of the most difficult times and things to do mentally.
A birthday, a wedding, or even a simple get together, will come and go in a day or two, but the Christmas period seemingly lasts forever. However, there is one word that can link all successful celebrations and events together because without it, they simply wouldn’t happen. Likewise, without it you may struggle to stay sober at Christmas. OK enough of the build-up. The word is:
Yes, I said planning. No one turns up at an event and it magically happens, do they? There is always some wonderful human being or group that is behind the scenes making it happen and run as smoothly as possible. The same goes for Christmas. You will have spent hours contemplating who you will see, who you will buy this gift or that gift and who will you be sharing your Christmas lunch with, right? So, adding ‘planning to stay sober at Christmas’ to the agenda doesn’t sound so ludicrous and it could just well be the greatest gift you could give yourself.
If you have read my book ‘Finding Your Sober Bubble’ then you will have some clue as to what the 6 P’s are and why I think it is wise to place so much emphasis on planning. Here is a summary of the 6 P’s:
Planning & Preparation Prevents a Piss Poor Performance
Without planning and at least some forward thinking you could find yourself in a pickle, especially if you are in very early sobriety, in which case I also recommend you read my post ‘The aftermath of quitting booze’. Put some serious time aside with pen and paper (old school) and write down concerns, ideas, dates for works dinners etc. (if they are going ahead what with the damn Covids). No one is saying you must stick to it exactly, but it will enhance focus in your mind. Obviously, it is best to do this early on as you may have a stressful or difficult time over the next Month or so. Think about regular commitments you can reduce or pass over. Plan what daily self-care you can do and think of who you can call and talk to if you feel overwhelmed. Write all thoughts down no matter how silly, including events you could attend that doesn’t remotely involve alcohol.
Some other key points to include when considering the 6 P’s to stay sober at Christmas include:
Planning your personal drinks: There is nothing worse than visiting someone, them offering you a beer (or other), you saying no thanks and them not knowing what to give you with a puzzled look of ‘why aren’t you drinking’ on their face…. I hate that look! Having a ‘go-to’ tipple will also help alleviate any cravings you may come across
This brings me onto another key part of your planning. Letting people know: If you have taken my advice and started to write down what, when, where and who, then you are likely to know (roughly) who you will be seeing over the festive period, so why not give them the heads up. Your closest circle in your sober bubble will know anyway but trust me when I say, once people are aware you are stopping drinking, and you are owning it (important point), they are much less likely to give you grief about it. In-fact, most of the time people admire you for it. Those who don’t, well… You decide!
Another tip for planning is not so much to do with the Christmas period itself, but what can you Reward yourself with, either after or during? By planning a certain day or days when it is a celebration of say, how you were able to stay sober at Christmas, it will give you focus and it can be just for you and your closest confidant, family and/or friends.
In summary, no major event just happens, it takes a lot of careful planning and consideration to pull it off. Behind the scenes, there are bound to be hiccups and times where you need all your expertise and experience to make it a success. Making it through Christmas with your sobriety in-tact is no different, it’s a major event and without planning, commitment, and desire, it won’t just happen.
Always remember the 6 P’s and have a very merry sober Christmas.
All the best… Darren