Over the last 15 years, I can count on one hand the number of sober Christmas to New Year’s Eve holidays I’ve celebrated: two. My first sober holiday season in recent memory was six years ago in 2014. That was the year that my father passed away … while I was with him. Losing my father made me think about my drinking habits and I decided to take back control of my life. But that resolve did not last to the next Christmas. My second sober holiday season in recent memory was last year. I quit drinking and celebrated my last Day 1 on October 13, 2019… so I’m no expert on sobriety. I don’t have volumes of textbooks of advice to dole out to you if you have recently stopped drinking or are trying to go sober, for I’m just steps ahead of you (in dog years). But as I have found that my resolve is sticking this time I wanted to share the five things that have helped me stay sober moving through this Christmas and into the new year.
5 Thoughts to Help You Stay Sober from Christmas to New Year’s Eve and Beyond
1. Perspective is everything. Being sober is NOT a punishment for you. It is a GIFT that you are giving to yourself, the one you are trying to protect right now. There is no bigger gift that you can recive this Christmas than the one you give yourself by staying sober. There is no better way to start the New Year than alcohol-free.
2. Breath and Allow. A lot of the stress we feel during the holiday time, well – it’s self induced. Yes, we try to do it all – maybe doubling down on family traditions, and perfecting the holiday meal, and decorating the tree in just the perfect way. Today is the day to let them go….. Christmas will come and go, and the memories will form, whether you make two kinds of cookies or they are store bought. Give yourself permission to let some of the stuff go. Relax the perfectionism in all things except one. Don’t relax you decision to stay sober this Christmas. And remember on New Year’s eve that the best of celebrations end with you cheering in new possibilities, not tied to regrets from the past.
3. People will be people. People around us LOVE us, okay? But like us, they are human, and if you are new to sobriety, they may not know how to act around you…. so it’s time for forgiving (in advance).
Understand that the abrasive a$$hole that’s in the shadows of your life will still be an a$$hole. The passive aggressive nitpicking relative will still nitpick, complimenting your recipe for the cranberries as she wonders out loud why you used so much cinnamon. Your child may sulk because he didn’t get the exact version of the game that he wanted, and you may have to pretend that life is GREAT when someone asks you if you want a glass of wine, and you say “not right now”.
4. Be Proud and Stand Tall! Don’t be worried about the impending interrogation that you are expecting… it may start out like the following- or it may not happen at all!
“WHAT? YOU are not drinking?”
“Oh, is this your new fad? Awe, have a drink! You can go on the wagon after New Year’s Day!”
“Twenty twenty has been such a bitch, let’s kick it out with a bang!”
“Oh no, do you think you have a PROBLEM?”
Yes, some of these inquisitions may happen, but how about if you flip the script, in your mind… there is a lot of PRIDE in what you are doing, and you should stand TALL and own it.
YES. OWN IT.
When you think about the amount of strength it took for you…. on that night of Day 1, when the first witching hour hit hard…. you resisted drinking. Remember that? Followed by Day 2, you stood tall and stayed away from the bottle… and as the days moved on, you started looking forward, instead of INTO the bottom of the bottle. You accepted that there may be a physical addiction, and your found resources like books, podcasts, and sites like here… all to reform you. You found a way to protect your Quit.
True confession: the first time I stopped drinking, I quietly gave myself permission to drink again… I knew, deep down, that I would drink again, and I did. So when I quit this time, I did it with the realization that without alcohol, I am a better version of ME. I resolved that I would not entertain cracking that door open. Not on Christmas or New Years eve or any day again.
I am grateful that I found the strength to put down the bottle, and I am even more grateful that I love myself again. As hokie as that sounds, I now have the strength to say,
“I don’t drink anymore. I quit about a year ago, and I feel great”
and just like that, the stress and worry about the “ifs” and “buts” are squashed. The end game, of flirting with temptation, is no longer played. With this statement, I give myself permission to be sober everyday and everywhere, whether Christmas, or New Year’s Eve or just another regular ol’ Monday … I do not drink !
5. Look Forward and let go of the Past. Finally, with the end of this crazy year, maybe it’s time for forgiveness and new traditions. Let’s grieve for those that we’ve lost this year, and honor their memories by putting down the bottle as we put our best foot forward into 2021. Sobriety is the gift of living each day fully. Sobriety is the best gift you can give yourself for Christmas, the New Year and every day beyond.
As for me, my feet will be donned with my sober sneakers, double knotted and ready to go. Protect Your Quit. ❤💚❤
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