Sober for the Festive Season
If you are newly sober, firstly congratulations, this is a marvelous and world-changing achievement, and secondly, don’t stress about the festive season, We have a bunch of great tips to make sure you go into the silly season sober, and you come out of it just as sober!
Walk into the season with the confidence that you know you are not going to drink.
Highlight this in your mind. I cannot repeat it often enough because you have been sitting on the fence of festive season drinking, you are already planting the seed and that is the beginning of a battle you are going to be fighting. That battle could see wounds to your will, your guilt and it will most likely end up with you wounded on the battleground of sobriety. In other words, you will probably drink. Make up your mind right now that you will not drink at all during the festive season. End of story. No ifs and no buts.
Find the thrill in the action of being Sober.
Once you have made the decision that you will not drink, pump yourself up, man! It’s a good thing! Be your own cheerleader and psyche yourself up! Visualisation is a great tool – see yourself drinking fizzy drinks while all around you people are getting drunk and feel the pride swell inside your bones as you remember and celebrate the self-control you have to stick to your own goal. Think of your health – and the fact that you won’t be hanging the next day, that you can remember the night that was and that you have a weekend of non-bloated fun ahead of you and a week of tired less work waiting for you on Monday!
- Get the tools! Create a list of things that help you manage stress, make you smile and instil peace within you. Take that list (and the things which you need, your tools) with you on holiday.
Here are a few favourites:
Smellies: incense sticks, lavender oils and other beautiful calming smells. Rub oil on your arms and hands and inhale the instant life-changing smell that can make you drift away from stress in that sensory-filled boat of serenity.
Meditation: You don’t need to catch a flight to Bali to find balance through meditation. Stay sober -simply go online and discover a few relaxing methods to find inner peace right in the comfort of your own space.
Breathe: Take a dozen or so deep, long breaths. You can do it at the checkout counter of your local Spar or while you are sitting at the beach. Count for 5 as you inhale, and five as you exhale. Don’t overthink it. Don’t worry if you think you are doing it right or wrong. Just breathe!
Drink tea: The British aren’t the only ones who advocate a good cuppa! Visit a local health shop and find some calming and soothing tea flavours and spoil yourself. It’s like having a cup of hugs!
Be ready to roll your eyes at friends and family.
You will be teased, you could be judged and you will be pressured. Think of this when you feel hurt by someone else’s words. What someone says to you or how they act towards you is not about you. It’s about them and how they see the world. The way you react however is about you. Focus on that and only that. Consider everyone as a lesson. Every person you meet is a potential lesson – one which you can use to learn from and to grow from. So every person is a free lesson in the class of life.
You don’t actually need to engage in a situation, you are safest in your willingness to be defenceless. If you find yourself letting someone push your buttons, or find yourself defending something, you are adding and growing the problem. You are the one who can add to fire with fuel or water. A way to handle these confrontations and stay sober is to just take your energy out of the equation. A target is the only one that is in the line of the weapon. Dodge it by not being there and you cannot possibly be a victim. There is power in not having to use power to avoid confrontation!
That being said, you also need to set boundaries for yourself and put yourself first.
You don’t need to talk to everyone and engage in every single conversation and you don’t need to do everything that you are asked – especially things which could compromise you’re being sober. You need to just remember one thing. You matter and you need to take care of yourself. You are recovering from something that can kill you. Why mess around with that because of some conversation or for the sake of people-pleasing?
Man oh man, you need a reward. Love yourself and practice the art of self-care, daily. It is so important to look after yourself, especially during the festive season, during travels, when you are out of your usual routine and when you are at places which could lead to stress on relationships. Drink loads of water, have the bubbliest of baths, try out some yoga, write down things, eat, find something spiritual to do and relax. When I say reward yourself I mean it. Book a movie, get a back massage and eat the finest sushi you can find. Watch a bunch of TV shows or just sleep in on a rainy day. Dedicate time to doing what you think is a reward and jot it into your calendar. The next thing you know you are back at work and life is GREAT. That is how you survive a sober holiday. Good luck!