What a year it has been! We’ve all handled a pandemic as gracefully as we could possibly allow, and all of the New Year’s Resolutions that we made in January are very likely broken. If you resolved to be sober this year and found that lockdowns helped, congratulations, you’ve made a huge drastic change in life with an enforced rehab at home. When you’re newly sober or trying to be sober, one of the hardest times of year is Christmas time.
Whether people are allowed back to the bars for their Christmas parties, or they are hosting Zoom Christmas shindigs, it’s tempting to reach for the Eggnog or the mulled wine. It’s even more tempting to indulge in special Christmas coffees with alcohol added because without it, you’re going to feel like you aren’t truly “celebrating” Christmas. The thing is, it’s not the case.
You do not need alcohol to have fun anymore than you need to believe in Father Christmas to receive gifts. We won’t pretend it’s easy to be sober at Christmas time, and we won’t pretend that you won’t be tempted to drink. But you can survive this holiday without a drop of alcohol touching your lips. You just need the tips we have below to make life as easy as possible.
- Choose Not To Drink. Yes, we know, if you could choose not to drink, it wouldn’t be an addiction, right? Here’s the thing, you do not need to examine how you feel about alcohol for Christmas. You do need to take control of the situation and make that decision right now to choose to say no. Saying no doesn’t make you weak, and it doesn’t mean that you are doing the wrong thing. You can click here to learn a little more about how you can make this hard choice. The one thing that we do know is that there is no need for uncertainty. Don’t say “maybe”, don’t say “I’ll decide later” – say no, and stick to soft drinks.
- Tell Everyone. If you want to make sure that you stay away from the alcohol, let all of your friends and family know that you are choosing not to drink. Sobriety is about support, and you can feel far better supported when you take the time to tell everyone your plans. This way, no one will offer you anything to drink and you get the instant help you need to stay strong and stay sober.
- Choose Positivity. When you consider your sobriety, you know that you need to feel it in your mind as much as you do within yourself. You need to choose to feel positive about the step that you’re taking and you need to know that alcohol is not magical: it cannot change your life for anything positive, but you can. Choose to see this as a good step in your life.
- Be Prepared. Even when you tell everyone you’re not drinking, someone out there will still offer you a drink. Be prepared for it, and be prepared for people to laugh and eye roll at the fact you’ve made this choice. You can make up an excuse if you don’t want to go into details, but the best thing to do is be confident and explain that you don’t want to drink anymore. If people ask why, be honest and explain that you’d rather just remain sober and healthy than drink yourself into trouble. People don’t like the honest answers as they often project your response onto themselves, so be prepared for that. All you need to do is worry about you!
- Plan What You’ll Have Instead. So, you don’t want cocktails, but the bar you’re in will always have fruity mocktails instead. You can choose to have fancy sodas and new juices that remain alcohol-free. There are always options for the non-drinker, and you can plan ahead by checking the drinks menu at the venue before you go. Preparedness is key.
- Lean On Someone. Have a spotter with you. Yes, you’ve informed people that you don’t want to drink, but you need someone to keep you positive and uplifted at the same event. So, have someone with you to order your drinks and check in on you. You can also have this person as someone you tell when you need to leave and you’ve had enough of it all. They will help you to get out and go home.
- Do What Works. What’s been working to keep you sober so far? You’re not just doing it for Christmas, you’re doing this for yourself. So, make sure that you are continuing the same habits that have kept you sober so far. You don’t need to wobble off your board just because it’s Christmas time. Your progress shouldn’t be halted for one day of the year!
- Smile & Fake It. You won’t feel like faking it, but you’ve got to if you want to keep the sobriety in the forefront of your mind. You should smile, and you should feel confident as a result even if that confidence is fake. The more you act like you are having an excellent time, the more it will be the case.
- Always Have A Way Out. You don’t have to stay until the end of a party to have a good time. You can leave any time that you like and you don’t have to make excuses, either. You need a way out when you are around people who drink.