As the song goes, it’s ‘the most wonderful time of the year’… but it’s also the booziest.
There are parties to navigate, family gatherings and endless occasions where we’re encouraged to ‘celebrate’ with everyone’s favourite drug – alcohol.
This will be my 6th sober Christmas and I’m really looking forward to it.
I consider sobriety to be a lifestyle upgrade – I don’t want hangovers spoiling my fun (or making this hectic time of year any harder than it already is!)
But I haven’t always felt this confident.
I know December can be a challenging month if you’ve recently quit drinking or you’re trying to drink less, so I wanted to share some tips on how to navigate the silly season, sober 🙂
1) Decide you’re not going to drink
I know this sounds so obvious, but seriously – don’t just ‘wait and see’ how you feel. A ‘maybe’ nearly always ends up being a yes (you just do a lot of dithering first!)
Before each event, decide in advance whether you’re going to drink or not. Once the decision is made, move on. You’ve done the thinking bit – now it’s time to take action.
2) Be positive
Stamp out any thoughts about being a sober loser or missing out. If you keep telling yourself that you’re going to be bored because you’re AF, then guess what? That probably will happen.
Focus on everything you have to gain from showing up as your awesome, alcohol-free self. And think about how great you’ll feel afterwards – you’ll be so proud.
3) Act like a non smoker
What I mean by this is own your sobriety. There’s no need to go around apologising for not drinking. (Would you apologise for not smoking? Or not eating meat? I don’t think so.)
You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but you might want to prepare a response incase the ‘why aren’t you drinking’ question comes up. Click here for a few ideas.
4) Get clear on what each event is about
In this boozy world of ours, it’s easy to forget that parties are about more than drinking. What they’re really about are humans coming together to connect, socialise and have fun.
Your Christmas meal is about spending time with family. And that work party is about celebrating with colleagues (people who, FYI, you spend most of your time with sober!)
5) Plan your drinks
This isn’t the time to be making do with any old drink or leaving things to chance. You deserve to celebrate with something special too! Take control of your drinks and plan ahead.
If you’re going to a party, offer to supply the alcohol free drinks. You’ll be amazed how quickly they disappear – other people will appreciate having some non-boozy options.
6) Keep doing the basics
What’s helped you get this far? Maybe there’s a special mocktail you rely on at wine o’clock, a blog you love or a podcast you listen to on your way to work. Keep these habits going.
Whilst your regular routine is likely to be disrupted over Christmas, staying in contact with your sober world will help keep you focused and in the right mindset.
7) Give yourself permission to say no
When you’re truly prioritising your sobriety, there’s nothing that you really ‘have’ to do. You CAN leave early, you can stay at home and you can just say no.
A few hurt feelings are an acceptable price to pay if it keeps you alcohol free. Whenever you feel you ‘have’ to do something, ask yourself – will this matter a month from now, or a year from now?
8) Don’t give alcohol all the power
It’s not what’s in your glass that dictates the success of an evening – it’s the mood you’re in before you go, the people you’re with, the atmosphere, the music and 101 other things!
Drinking at a bad party just means you’re drunk at a bad party. Booze isn’t what makes the festive season special. All it can do is help you numb out from your one and only life.
9) Keep things in perspective
In a few short weeks, this will all be over. In many ways, the festive season is just like any other time of year. There are good bits, bad bits and bits that are just ok.
If this is your first sober Christmas, take some time out to think about how you want to feel by the time we hit the New Year. You haven’t come this far to only come this far – right?
10) Treat yourself
I say this to my students all the time – just because you’re sober, it doesn’t mean you need to be ‘on’ 24/7. Don’t skip the downtime you’d get if you were drinking. You’re not superwoman!
You deserve lots of sober treats and rewards, because having the courage to go against the grain is something that should be celebrated. Take extra good care of yourself – you’re awesome 🙂
Let me know…
What are the tips and tricks that get you through this crazy, boozy time of year? What will you be focusing on over the coming weeks? Leave me a note in the comments – I know so many people head there for encouragement and support.
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