December is upon us again and once again ’tis the season of alcohol and holidays. We romanticize, glamorize, and can be hypnotized by alcohol marketing, especially at this time of year. It’s difficult to stay alcohol-free in a world that treats non-drinkers as abnormal. Alcohol is celebrated in marketing on television, the internet, billboards, and social media, as fabulous and sophisticated with the illusion that there are no negative impacts. And yet, alcohol is an addictive drug. More people get addicted to alcohol than any other substance aside from tobacco. If you want to stay sober this holiday season, or if you’re trying to stop drinking, I can’t stress enough the importance of the power of connection with a sober support group.
There seem to be a lot of sober slips during this season. Go figure. Clearly, we need to stay mindful of our choices from October 31st to New Year’s Day more than any other time of the year.
One of my biggest slips was at my company holiday party three years ago. I was used to quitting drinking and slipping often and had no one to talk to who would understand. It took me some time before I was ready to get back on the AF (alcohol-free) Train that time. I would have been in a much better place if I had the sober community connection at my fingertips back then that I have now.
There is no need for anyone hoping to stay sober this holiday season to go it alone. The internet has given us a huge variety of sober support groups with different styles and systems over the past few years. Our online community, Boom Rethink the Drink, is one of many that I’ll add at the end of this post. If you feel like drinking or if you are having cravings talk to someone who can be a sober support friend. Find the community that best fits you and get on your mobile device or computer and start typing. Just write it. Write about what’s going on. We’re here. At all hours, all over the world.
My advice to anyone who has recently slipped: Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, relax. You’re not a bad person, nor are you a failure. Slips happen. Just get back on that Alcohol-Free 🚅 Train right away. Don’t wait! Get right back in the flow of that sober momentum. I know that craving, as well and how easy it is to convince yourself that it’s ok to have one drink now. Then really believing you are having just that one drink, but it turns into another and another, until the drink takes you.
You are not alone if you tried to quit drinking and slipped. I quit many times over the years before I took my last drink 391 days ago. I would venture to say that the majority of those who are now enjoying long-term sobriety have tried more than once.
If you slipped, you may feel defeated, but the experience gained by trying, will help you succeed and regain your AF life.
You will better understand the effects drinking can have on you and your loved ones. You will understand better what works and in particular, what doesn’t work.
This is for anyone trying to quit or stay sober as well: Sometimes we can feel like we are stuck; like there are no workable options, and you just “can’t do it.” Sometimes we can create a whole rats’ nest of negative and distorted thoughts. We may have trouble separating out fact from fiction, so we believe it all, which can be confusing and contradictory:
▪︎ I can stop drinking anytime I want to.
▪︎I’ll never be able to quit.
▪︎It’s not my fault, they made me drink.
▪︎I can’t quit because of (fill in the blank)_________.
▪︎I’m a failure.
It’s helpful to write down the thoughts as they come to mind, or if you can’t, then do this in your head. Ask yourself if the thought is really true. If it isn’t, ask yourself what is really true?
*Thought: I’m a failure.
*True or False: False.
* What is true (Fact): I’ve succeeded at many important things. ( list them!)
Then take your positive thoughts and what you have gained from the prior attempts, and use what worked. Discard what didn’t. If hanging out with drinking friends on a Saturday night resulted in drinking, then don’t hang out with drinking friends, at least not for a while.
Learn to set boundaries. This is not always easy. I still have a lot of difficulty with it, but by setting boundaries I have experienced the greatest rewards and greatest help staying sober.
Make self-care a priority. Eat properly, get enough sleep, take breaks, and try to have leisure time. You can’t care for anyone else unless you care for yourself first.
Connect, don’t isolate. Find support to stay sober this holiday season and beyond. Connect here on Boom as often as you can. Post daily, or all day. If you feel it, post it. Connection is critical.
Personally, the longer I stay sober, the more I feel able to stay sober. Every Alcohol-Free day leads you closer to successfully living AF long term.
Sobriety is a reward in itself. It’s not always easy. It takes dedication, focus, and a huge desire to get better. But at some point, you will notice it has become MUCH easier.
If we treat our experiences as a potential for learning, then there is no need for regret or shame. It frees up the mind to see what is real. It becomes clearer to us that alcohol is not our friend, and it’s easier to see what caused the slip, to be better armed going forward, and to gain the motivation to carry on, focused on the goal, with more confidence and more knowledge.
Living this life, in itself, is a learning experience. Take what knowledge you can from it. Live in the now and move forward prepared to experience life’s joys as well as hardships. And don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy Holidays, my friends!
Let’s make sobriety glamorous!! Who knows. Maybe we can change the world. Let’s be alcohol-free today!
May this be your best Season yet of Holidays and (Freedom from) Alcohol.🎄 🕎 🎅
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using
community support 24-7 or sign up and sign in here
We love our community and think that there is no place like BOOM. But there are many communities that offer support online and in person. Please check out the websites linked below if you are looking for your niche and haven’t found it yet.
The following communities have been used by members of our community or are used in conjunction with our community and are recommended as helpful.
Where can you find support to stay sober this Holiday Season in addition to our Boom Rethink the Drink Community ?
4 alternatives to AA with online community’s and in-person meetings
Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”