Surviving the festive period....sober
It’s here...... I know, it seems to come round so quickly every bloody year, a time to be merry i.e get rat arsed at any given opportunity and trust me in years gone by I used this time of year as an excuse to drink and party.
Everyone drinks 2 bottles every night don’t they?
Everyone drinks in the morning at xmas don’t they?
Everyone looses a shoe at the office party don’t they?
Everyone humiliates themselves at the office party don’t they?
Everyone drinks while wrapping pressie don’t they?
And so on and so forth......
Sometimes by the time the day came itself I couldnt even enjoy it as I would be suffering from a month long hangover!!
In fact during my recovery I’ve had 2 rock bottoms and it’s no surprise they both came in December. It’s very easy for an alcoholic to hide their drinking during the festive period. Parties, dinners, lunches, Christmas markets all of them encouraging drinking at all times of the day and finally your friends can join in! But the truth is by the end of my drinking I was miserable and hiding it inside..... surrounded by people yet feeling all alone. This is the depressing truth behind addiction.
So, how do I feel about Christmas now I’m sober?.... honestly I look forward to it, I like dinner parties and wandering around Christmas markets, the smell of mulled wine and pinetrees still fills me with excitement, of course it depends on where I am mentally. If I’m stressed, low, anxious then I’m no fun to be around but that can come at anytime of the year! I’m lucky that now I have some sober time I can socialise without being well oiled, I don’t always feel like it so I choose the right social occasions for me, friends I enjoy, family time and special events can all be wonderful. In all my years of sobriety I may not have enjoyed every night out, however I have never woken up in the morning wishing I had a hangover! ;)
Now I have kids it’s amazing seeing Christmas through their eyes and being fresh in December means I can enjoy nativities, assemblies, Carol services and all that comes with that.... before, I would be too hungover to bother with such nonsense, any activity was pointless unless it involved booze! I even run every Christmas day morning now! It gives me time to clear my head and get myself in a space to be around drink all day. My family and friends drink and I would never want anyone to change their drinking habits for me..... alcoholism is my disease not anyone else’s...... my recovery is solely my responsibility.
I’ve made a list of tips to help through the festive period and stay sober, sane and mostly to enjoy it!
Remember the real reason behind Christmas, being with family and friends.
Choose your social occasions wisely, I get lots of invites and I make sure I only say yes to ones I really want to go to.
Have a get away plan, this is where driving comes in handy. When folk get too hammered and I've had enough, home I go , straight into my pjs and xmas tele goes on ;)
Spend time thinking of others, put lots of thought into presents, you can spend more when you’re saving on nights out!
Buy some new outfits so you feel amazing on nights out... maybe new make up too!
Book a spa day or a nice treatment in the week running up to the big day so you feel special and beautiful
Ensure you spend time with people who know you are not drinking this will avoid the ‘oh go on just onw won't hurt! little do they know'
Food.... omg how much gorgeous food is around at this time of the year... I missed it all whilst drunk. And as your not boozing you can pig out guilt free! Well I do!
Enjoy cosy nights in with the great TV on offer or a good book, Pjs and fluffy socks are a must for this activity ;)
Think of all the calories you are saving! You will be going into January fresh and ready for the New Year
If you can don’t cut yourself of from the people around you.... remember not everyone you know will be getting drunk (this is something I’ve discovered in recovery... it baffled me!)
On Christmas Day make sure you have half an hour to yourself to keep yourself sane and calm
Dont get into family politics this will only stress you out.
If you are in a 12 step recovery programme, up your meetings in December, keep close to your sponsor and others in recovery
Do not get overwhelmed, we are bombarded with marketing at this time of year encouraging us to spend and party..... it’s one day..... it’s only one day!
Exercise, don’t stop just because it the festive period, exercise makes you feel good by releasing endorphins. It also help with the Christmas muffin top ;)
Make sure you have lots of delicious soft drinks to sip on... I love this product from Cook which when added to apple juice feels really Christmassy , also hot chocolate with marshmallows is a great alternative to Irish coffee's.
Reach out to someone you feel may need help over this time, this gets you out of yourself, there is always someone who needs support and words of comfort.
and last but not least, write a gratitude list every chance you get, list all the things in your life you are grateful for and cherish.
For me this time of year is a great time for making amends to my family. I often spend it at my parents and believe me I have caused them some heartache over the years! So now I help with the preparations and cooking, clear up, be kind, don’t cause arguments, give nice thoughtful gifts..... generally being a more useful member of the family. I think they call it being a grown up haha!
So this year I shall be looking less like this....
And more like this......
Disclaimer I can not guarantee snow!
Remember it’s a time to enjoy, relax and spend time with your loved ones.
Stay safe this Christmas and take lots of care of your beautiful selves.
Sending lots of festive love