May 18, 2024

Having A Sober Christmas?

But moderation and I were not acquainted. I realised with alcohol; it would always be all or nothing. My anxiety did get better when I stopped drinking, and for the sake of my sanity, I needed to cut alcohol out of my life completely.

Sober days turned into weeks, then months, and soon I was facing my first sober Christmas. I was acutely aware then that alcohol was soaked into every event. I tried to go to parties and enjoy myself but often bailed at the first sniff of mulled wine.

I realised the strength I needed to socialise sober was a muscle that required training, and I couldn’t just throw myself into a boozy party and hope for the best. So I avoided events where I would be the only teetotal person present and clung to pregnant friends for moral support.

Slowly but surely, socialising sober became easier. When I was drinking, I often argued with loved ones, but I never raised my voice or lashed out when I was sober. I got better at striking up conversations with strangers at functions without liquid courage and discovered that sober dancing is quite fun! I also realised that I could just go home if I wasn’t having a great time or felt pressured to drink.

Now I’m facing my fifth alcohol-free Christmas; I’m excited to enjoy (and remember) every moment of the festive season. The only thing I’m missing by not drinking is hangovers, and I’m fine with that.

So, if you are facing Christmas without alcohol, here’s some advice to help combat the fear of missing alcohol.

Find a sober buddy

Dru Jaeger, Club Soda co-founder and author of How to Be a Mindful Drinker, says, “Notice who else isn’t drinking. One in three people either don’t drink at all or drink less than once a month. So even during the holidays, you’re in good company. ”

If you don’t know anyone who’s teetotal, you can find support and friendship through the dozens of online sober communities. If you’re looking for sober inspo, check out Club Soda, Sober Girl Society, Soberistas, and This Naked Mind.

Pick a new signature drink

Millie Gooch, the founder of Sober Girl Society, says, “Find great alternative drinks that you look forward to having, whether that’s an alcohol-free prosecco or even a hot chocolate. Feeling excited by what you’re drinking can eliminate some of the FOMO you might have if you’re reluctantly left with a Diet Coke. ”

If you’re not comfortable telling people you’re sober, have a drink in your hand as much as possible. If you already have a drink, it’s less likely that someone will ask what you’re drinking or offer you something alcoholic.

Plan your escape

One of the many perks of not drinking is being lucid enough to know exactly when you’re ready to leave a party. If I’m feeling anxious before a social event, I always feel more comfortable when I have made plans to get myself home. That way, if I feel triggered or stressed, I can get myself out of the situation quickly.

Make new sober traditions

Millie says, “Try and embrace the parts of Christmas that don’t revolve around alcohol, whether that’s spending time with loved ones, visiting a Christmas market or going ice skating. Being clearheaded will allow you to experience some of the magical parts of Christmas rather than spending it hungover and worrying you embarrassed yourself at the Christmas party. ”

If you’re missing mulled wine as part of your festive ritual, Dru suggests whipping up an alcohol-free batch, “Much of the alcohol evaporates when it’s heated anyway, so start with an alcohol-free red wine and add your favourite spice mix. Nobody will notice the difference. ”

Think of what you’re gaining, not losing

It took me a long time to get over the idea that giving up alcohol was a huge loss. Then, about a year in, I started to focus on what I had gained. My confidence has grown, my friendships are healthier, my self-worth is higher than ever, and I have sobriety to thank for that. And life is much more fun when you can remember what happened the night before!

If you’re struggling to stay on the wagon, think about all the things you’ll gain by staying alcohol-free.

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