12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology

12 Days of Holidat Cookies and Homebaked Sobriology

Sweet Distractions for my first sober holiday season

Are you feeling shaky during the holidays? Does everything feel a little futile? Are you into avoiding work and ignoring emails? Do you want to bury your existential dread in nonpareils and royal icing? You too might need cookies! Or (speaking for myself) therapy!

I spent today poring over cookbooks and making a list of other non-cookie baking and cooking projects I might take on. I bookmarked mocktails and tried to imagine an entire December sober. I made other lists, as well. I thought about letting go, and how I am terrible at letting things go. I’m a clinger. I’m reimagining winter and my life. 

I thought that I could maybe, just maybe make it 100 days sober, and now that that goal is within reach, I’m trying to imagine life after the fact. I’m also thinking about how to commemorate milestones. Did you treat yourself at 100 days sober? How? 

I will start with treating myself to 12 days of cookies!

Day 1 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology : Macaroons

I do not have the patience or fastidiousness to be a good baker. I am a cook—someone who tastes as she goes and moves on instinct. I worship at the altar of Good Enough. Directions are mere suggestions in my book, and my friends joke that my ugly baked goods are just “rustic.” So here are some rustic macarons that, uh, don’t quite measure up to Laduree. I ate three of them anyway.

I’ve been trying to listen to my instincts in sobriety, and I’ve tried to accept “good enough.” What you need one day to stay sober might looks entirely different from what you need the next. To extend my cooking metaphor a bit, I’ll say some days you need to pull out all the stops and the work of maintaining sobriety—and it really is work—can leave you feeling like you’ve prepared a five course meal for a fancy food critic.

I love to cook (literally) and as a metaphor, I think cooking is just ok. Personally, I like my sobriety like frozen macaroni and cheese you make in the microwave; I want to push a button and not think of it at all. I think one of the biggest factors to success is knowing when to focus all your attention on sobriety and when to put it out of your mind and live your life. There’s a balance. These days, I know when sobriety might be hard and I’m trying to head off cravings before they start (see: depression-baking). I feel pretty good about my toolkit, although it hardly deserves a Michelin star.

I’m grateful to be sober today. I’m thinking about the future.

And I know December can be a hard month to quit drinking, if you’re new or if you’re back at it, but the silver lining is that when you go sober, you can justify lots and lots of treats.

Day 2 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Homebaked Sobriology : Shortbread

I found my great-grandmother’s recipe for shortbread and it felt like a Great British Bake-off technical challenge. It was pared down to the basic ingredients—butter, sugar, flour—which I mixed together, and then it said to “bake in a moderate oven.” No time or temperature!

Prue: what could go wrong today?

Paul Hollywood: well, Jane could be too liberal with her flour. She’s had trouble measuring ingredients before. This is only day 2 of cookie baking and her macarons weren’t perfect. She could also get frustrated and be tempted to throw the whole thing out.

Prue: there’s a lot of pressure with all the wine in the tent.

Paul Hollywood: it’s a good challenge.

The shortbread is a little sandy. Delicious sand.

I need to start the next draft of my novel but I’m still feeling disconnected from my work and like nothing is going to come of it. I’m learning about process through baking, though. How the joy is in the doing. How you push through even when you may have made a mistake. Most of the time it’s not as bad as you think it will be. Sometimes it’s good even.

Baking as writing as sobriety.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about a glass of wine, but then I think of what a drinking life looks like—not just one glass—and I remember the horror of it all. Instead, I fill the house with the warm smell of spices and sugar. I try new recipes from around the world and I get my hands dirty. I lick the bowl clean. I sit by the fire most evenings and I read a book with a mug of tea. I wait for the snow to fall.

Day 3 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-baked Sobriology: Key Lime Pie Bars

I think my depressive spell has mostly ended. I stayed up late last night listening to music and I bought myself a bracelet as a gift to myself for 100 days sober, even though that milestone isn’t until the 9th. Hopefully it will come before then and I’ll just keep it in the box. It felt frivolous and slightly financially irresponsible but then I had to remind myself that I’ve definitely saved enough from quitting smoking in addition to stopping drinking to justify this purchase. Definitely can’t slip now!

I’ve also decided to give this gratitude thing a chance and am keeping a list this month. Hope everyone is having a good night!

Day 4 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology : Jam Thumbprints

Just checking in today – but more thoughts here Imagining a New Life … Sober if you’d like a bit of my story

Day 5 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology: Lemon Ricotta

I keep baking. It gives shape to my days. I keep thinking about what life will be like once we get the vaccine, how we’ll all learn to live in a new normal. I wonder if this is when my actual sober life will begin and if it will feel like early days again with new tests and trials that, in any other year, I would have gotten out of the way the first month of sobriety.

It’s Saturday and I swirl lemon glaze over lemon cookies with the back of a spoon while listening to Soccer Mommy. I think about moving back to LA and spending days in the desert. I want to wear high heels down Sunset on a Monday and I want a shaggy-coated dog that accompanies me to the woods. I want to paint and take contemporary dance and backpack thru-hikes for weeks at a time. I want to learn how to bake and cook from professionals.

Today, it feels like sobriety is a blank canvas and I can see how I can recreate my life for the better. I have mental space that I didn’t have before and I can see I have an opportunity to actually change my life and be happy. Sobriety isn’t just about not drinking; it’s about creating lives we really want.

Day 6 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home -Baked Sobriology : Florentines

These were bad-mood cookies. I didn’t sleep all that well last night and when I woke up this morning I knew something was off.

I feel adrift from many of my friends. I keep reaching out and sometimes I get frustrated when they don’t respond in kind. Sometimes I think they forget what it’s like to be single. I wonder if I expect too much of them. I hate feeling needy or clingy. Intellectually, I know that my friends are busy and they have other relationships to prioritize, but at the end of the day it feels like I care about them more than they care me. This is an old hangup. An unequal distribution of feeling.

I keep learning new ways to be alone and lonely. Rather than drinking through feeling like I’m “too much” or “not enough,” I’m learning to appreciate these times because I know that this is when real change happens.

More thoughts on lonliness in early sobriety Loneliness and Meditation- Just Say “YES” to Sunday Morning Calm

Day 7 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology : Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Hope you’re all having a good day, Boom! I was talking to a friend the other day about how this year has really stripped me. My life in acetone. I got rid of a longterm relationship, then my apartment, my city, another city, alcohol, cigarettes. I might be imagining it, but it feels like one of my dearest friends is pulling away. Up until recently, I felt like I couldn’t bare to give up another thing, even if it wasn’t good for me. I had stripped myself bare but I hadn’t added anything. You can’t just be sailing around on empty all the time thinking about everything you’ve lost.

Since I got back to the West, though, I’ve been filling myself back up with arts and culture. Not a lot of tv, but some. Books and music and journaling. The arts, as I’ve long believed but maybe temporarily forgot, are not a luxury; they give us instructions on how to live.

Day 8 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology : Tuiles

These were fun to make, although my fingerprints are perhaps forever marred. Today is Day 99 sober, which means tomorrow I will have reached 100 days of change. How to think about sobriety going forward? When I first started this in July, I thought I could do 100 days sober. It was my original goal. But then after I slipped halfway through thinking “I just need a day off” and “I never really gave moderation a chance,” I realized this wasn’t just a reset. I had a problem with alcohol and I would continue to have a problem until I quit for good.

Here’s the thing: I wasn’t ever in denial about my drinking. I wasn’t lying to myself. I knew. I’ve known for years, but up until recently, it felt like something I could get under control. Something I might grow out of. When it became clear that this problem wasn’t going anywhere, quitting became not a question of “if” but “when.” Not yet, not yet, not yet.

But then I did. There is no going back.

I ordered myself a piece of sober jewelry and it arrived today. I haven’t opened the package yet, but I’ll be showing it off tomorrow! I’ll be reflecting on this milestone tonight.

Day 9 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology : Gingerbread

A big thank you to everyone here for helping me get to 100 days sober. You’ve all changed my life ❤️ BOOM Rethink the Drink

Related reading – Join Us for 100 Days of Change

Day 10 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home – Baked Sobriology : Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

Has anyone seen The Social Dilemma? I just finished watching it and it’s making me think about technology addiction. I wrote about this a few weeks ago and how alarming I found my screen time. I’m not quite sure how to remedy this during the pandemic when I’m often extremely alone and lonely. Did anyone adopt digital minimalism after getting sober?

Also, I messed up the biscotti and had to throw them out! Sad day. Two more days of cookies and then we can all go on a digital cookie diet.


Day 11 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookie and Home -Baked Sobriology: Sugar cookies

Tomorrow is the last day of 12 Days of Cookies. This was a rather frivolous project I set out to do to in order to keep myself busy this month. I’d been depressed last month and the beginning of December, and I figured I’d bake the sadness out of me. Somewhere between the macarons and lemon ricotta cookies, the depression spell lifted. I didn’t notice the wine. When I found myself unable to write, I chopped and folded and stirred and baked.

I have a confession: this is the first thing I’ve followed through on in a long time. Obviously, it’s a short term project with an end date and by God it’s only cookies, but it’s a goal I set and I’m actually going to finish it. There were so many times while I was drinking where I would just give up at the slightest challenge. “Well, it wasn’t what I wanted to do anyway.”

I’m figuring out what it is that I actually want to do. Sometimes I just want to quit my grad program to go work in a bakery. I picture myself listening to Neil Young radio, my knuckles deep in ciabatta dough. The nearly meditative practice of kneading.

Day 12 of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology : Pfeffernusse

Well, that’s the end of 12 Days of Holiday Cookies and Home-Baked Sobriology ! Thanks for following along!

If you celebrate Christmas, you could start 12 days of cookies tomorrow and end on Christmas Eve. Of course, anyone can start 12 Days of Cookies anytime. It could be 1 day of cookies or 100 days.

This month, thus far, staying sober has been easier than I expected it to be, and this might be due to a cancelled social scene or perhaps because I’m finally finding my groove, but I also think it’s because I’ve set this holiday routine for myself. It’s a way to lean into old traditions and resurrect childhood. All these different sweet doughs and icings—just playthings. Since I anticipated this month to be a challenge, I scaled back any expectations I had for myself. In the same way I cut myself endless slack in early sobriety, I just gave myself one task each day and allowed myself to forget about the rest. Just bake the cookies. Just don’t drink.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about a glass of wine, but then I think of what a drinking life looks like—not just one glass—and I remember the horror of it all. Instead, I fill the house with the warm smell of spices and sugar. I try new recipes from around the world and I get my hands dirty. I lick the bowl clean. I sit by the fire most evenings and I read a book with a mug of tea. I wait for the snow to fall.

Will I have to deal with a serious sugar addiction after this month? Yes. Do I have any regrets? None at all.

I’m done with my scheduled cookie baking but I’m going to stick to my challenge of posting every day this month.

Join me?

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What is Sobriology?

You’ve heard the words sober and sobriety but what is Sobriology? In Russia, where alcohol abuse has been a deadly epidemic for decades, Sobriology focuses on the positives of not drinking rather than the negatives of drinking too much- so rather than focusing on the problem focus on the solution –

FORMATION OF SOBRIOLOGY AS A SCIENCE In Russia … an integrated discipline “General Prevention” has been developed as a science of health promotion and prevention of a self-destructive behavior…. The aim of the program is training specialists in substance abuse prevention. The future specialist is an advocate of a sober healthy style of life. Any double standards are excluded. … They offer a new approach: to build up the culture of sobriety.

From The Formation of Sobriology as a Science

More Posts from our Boozemusings Blog to Inspire you from your first sober Christmas and beyond :

A Sober Girls Guide to the Festive Season and Christmas Freedom

Creating New Holiday Traditions Joyfully Sober 

From Resentment to Joy – Reaching Out as I Begin my 3rd Alcohol-Free Holiday Season  

Staying Sober? Tips to Help Celebrate the Holiday Season Alcohol-Free  

Tips and Tools and Great Alcohol-Free Drinks to Celebrate the Holidays Sober

The Key to Alcohol-Free Holiday Serenity

The Ghost of Christmas Past …

Grateful for the Simple Gift of Sobriety in my Second Alcohol-Free Holiday Season

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