Christmas loneliness is something that I’ve become accustomed to as a single parent. This year, as the pandemic keeps us away from family and friends, loneliness will most likely be something that many people struggle with. It can be especially hard to deal with loneliness if you are newly sober during this festive season. Drinking, loneliness, and the festive season went hand in hand for me. The holidays gave me a free pass to drink. Festive drinks. Different drinks than the usual. They were all drunk with the same glass after glass momentum and had the same results as all the other drinking nights of the year. But somehow it felt ok. Expected. Others are probably doing it. With their families or partners. Why shouldn’t I guzzle countless strong snowballs by myself?
In my solitude during the festive season it was like I was trying to join in with others parties remotely or consoling myself in my isolation. Sadly, distant partying with unknown others or consoling myself with the company of my old BFF/nemesis changed nothing. I was still alone, just alone and drunk. I actually finally cracked sobriety just before the festive season started last year. It was kind of good in a way because I faced the biggest drinking time of year for me head on. I got it out of the way.
This year I feel confident I can handle Christmas and the festive season sober. So how can you handle it if finding or maintaining sobriety are a struggle right now?
🎄 Know your opponent– It’s the time when the wine witch/booze monster/ lizard brain, whatever you like to think of it as, is on top form. Your opponent has plenty of well-used arguments and reasons for you to drink. That sly voice in your head is confident because it knows how ingrained your habits are around the festive season. It’s going to be rubbing its hands in glee just waiting for you to do as it predicts and drink. – more reading How to Override your Lizard Brain
🎄Be prepared– get in a stock of treats. Alcohol-free drinks and snacks galore. At any whisper of a craving – dive in to those goodies. Even if you don’t fancy one because ultimately all you want is alcohol. The hit of sugar, carbs or af liquid is going to knock the edge off that craving. – more reading Sober Treats – Rewiring your Reward Pathways When You Go Alcohol-Free
🎄Have entertainment at hand – For the first couple of months that I was sober, I played a lot of games on my phone. Wordscape I liked a lot. It was a really good instant distraction. Puzzles and cards became good go-to’s as well in the evening and these were of course also great activities with my son. more reading Top Ten Alcohol-Free Internet Entertainments
🎄 Spoil yourself – A Lot – When we live alone (I am very much not alone during the day with my son but my evenings are a complete contrast- every night alone) we miss out on physical affection and another, loving presence taking care of us now and then. But we still need it. And when we’re early in sobriety we need it a lot. If you are anything like me, self-care took a bike when alcohol was the star of the show. Kind, loving, thoughtful gestures to ourselves are important, deserved, and a great weapon against the beast. more reading Learning Self-Care in Early Sobriety
🎄 Tell people you’re doing a sober Christmas this year – You don’t have to tell them you’re going sober forever. Tell them what you want. Tell them that you’re doing a sober challenge. That you’re on medication. That you’re experimenting with sobriety. But be clear that you are not drinking and you want their support. more reading How Do You Stay Sober When Your Friends Encourage You to Drink?
🎄 Be honest with yourself and create boundaries. – If you suspect that you will be encouraged to drink by your hosts or others at gatherings, don’t go! Protect your sobriety fiercely. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you will be vulnerable. more reading Will the fun be over if you stop drinking alcohol?
🎄 Remember that sobriety is Truly the absolute best most incredible gift you could give to yourself. And the world! more reading and listening Sobriety Offers Everything that Alcohol Promised – Except the Hangover!
🎄 If you slip- forgive yourself. – No shame. No beating yourself up. That makes you weak and easy prey for the booze monster. Get up, dust yourself off, chin up and onwards. Use slips as information to inform you for next time. more reading Never Give up on Giving Up!
🎄Stay active here every day. Others are going through the same as you. Every one in their own way. Lean on the support of others and remember they need you too. Strength in numbers. You Can do it. Have faith. It IS possible for You. X