When I was struggling with my drinking, I couldn’t get my head around the idea of an alcohol free Christmas and New Year.
Booze is such a big part of the festive season, and I was convinced that not drinking would inevitably mean not having any fun either.
Fortunately, I was completely wrong about that!
I’ve had some of my best Christmases since I quit drinking, and I want to make sure that you do too.
The key is to approach this time of year with the right mindset and the right attitude.
Here are 5 secrets to an amazing alcohol free Christmas:
Get clear on what makes Christmas special
A drug like alcohol isn’t the magic ingredient that transforms Christmas into something fun. Just look at the people who love this time of year the most – children! Do they need a drug like alcohol in order to have an incredible time? No way.
It’s not booze that creates that sense of specialness – how can a drug that numbs and dulls you do that? It can’t. The festive season is special because of 101 other things, e.g. the chance to spend time with people you care about and enjoy some time off work.
Remember why you quit drinking
Something I get all my students to do is to write a proper list of all the reasons why they’ve decided to ditch alcohol. (I explained how to do this here). It takes time to complete this exercise properly but it is incredibly worthwhile.
If you find yourself romanticising or glamorising alcohol, return to your list and remind yourself of the reality of your drinking. You deserve an alcohol free Christmas. It’s so much better than hangovers, guilt, remorse and regrets.
Get excited about the new experiences you’re going to have
You already know what a boozy Christmas feels like. You’ve been there and done that. This year, you’re not going to waste time drinking – you’ll tick things off your to do list in good time and feel good because it’s not a stressful, hungover rush.
This will be the year you discover that you don’t need a mind-altering drug in order to have a good time. This will be the year you create crystal clear new memories, show up for the people you care about, push yourself out of your comfort zone and feel incredibly proud of yourself.
Know that you’re stronger than you think
Life is rarely like a Christmas card – things go wrong, or we have annoying relatives and family dramas. But alcohol doesn’t help with any of that. Instead, it makes us more argumentative and less resilient to stress. As coping mechanisms go, it’s a pretty bad one.
An alcohol free Christmas makes it easier to face tricky situations head on. You can observe what does and doesn’t work for you with a clear head, which puts you in a more empowered position for next year. Jane – one of my Getting Unstuck students – recently shared this:
“Because I was sober, I realised that I don’t actually like roast dinners… and I don’t want to spend Christmas Eve peeling veggies for a roast dinner I don’t want to eat. This Christmas I will be in France, skiing with my kids and ignoring the relatives I can’t seem to please.”
Create new rituals
If you always have champagne on Christmas morning, now’s the time to decide how you’re going to handle that. Or if you’ve always drunk your way through boring afternoons with relatives, this could be a great opportunity to mix things up and create a new routine.
You could buy alcohol-free fizz for Christmas morning or make fancy hot chocolates with the kids; set up a mocktail bar, go out for a walk, find the best festive lights in your neighbourhood, take a trip somewhere, play a game or do something completely indulgent. This is your alcohol free Christmas and you deserve to have fun!
If you’d like some help to quit drinking and create an alcohol-free life you love, click here for details of my online course.