New Years Eve. St. Patrick’s Day. Mardi Gras. Memorial Day. Cinco De Mayo. 4th of July. Labor Day. Hurricane Parties. Holiday Parties…
Any day… Ask someone who likes to drink and they can find a reason. They had a bad day, take the edge off. They had a good day, let’s celebrate! It’s 5 o clock somewhere, have a margarita. It’s Tuesday so tacos & tequila, Wine Down on Wednesday, Friday night happy hour…Get lit on Saturday and of course, brunch & mimosa’s on Sundays.
When I first got sober my biggest concern in all honesty was “how am I going to celebrate my anniversary without champagne? And New Year’s is my favorite holiday, why would I get all dressed up in glitz and glam to drink water??!” Looking back now, it’s crazy to think that my joy depended so much on a cup full of liquid.
As these holidays come up, my thoughts always go to the alcoholic who still suffers. The one who is too ashamed to admit they have a problem, so they turn up on Saturday with plans to change on Monday. Now that I’ve been sober for a few 24 hours, I’ve found some tricks that work for me:
When going out:
1. Order a soda water & lime. It looks like a cocktail but doesn’t cost you calories. You can also order a mocktail (a cocktail style drink sans alcohol).
2. Let the bartender know you’re sober. They’ll usually make you a signature mocktail that will keep you from feeling left out.
3. Arrive late & leave early. This will limit the time you are in temptations’ way.
4. Have an accountability partner, a friend who knows what you’re going through and can be there for you if you need to step away.
Enjoying holidays sober:
1. Host a party at home and focus on a really fun menu. Putting the focus on the food takes your mind away from drinking.
2. Curate a group of friends who are genuinely good company. Real friends don’t need libations to be entertaining.
3. Sparkling ciders & mocktails can make you feel like you’re still celebrating without the negative effects of going overboard.
4. Games are really fun! My friends and I enjoy monopoly, cards against humanity and old school Super Nintendo games.
As time goes on being around people who are inebriated when you’re not will no longer be appealing. For me, going to events where people were drinking in excess started to become very sad. Watching people poison themselves is not fun. When you take alcohol out of the equation, relationships become deeper & have more substance. It definitely gets easier.
Staying sober during certain holidays can be especially difficult when the main entertainment of the day is centered around drinking. A life of sobriety, I’ve learned is parallel to a life of success. If you want what no one else has, you must be willing to sacrifice the things no one else is willing to give up. You also have to get really honest with yourself.
The first step of AA states: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our
lives had become unmanageable.”
Remembering the damage caused every time I drank more than I planned to caused me to hurt a friends, spent more
than I wanted or wake up in a places that were unfamiliar all keep me aware of why I never want to go back to a life of drinking.
I can tell you, it gets easier, it gets better. It’s worth it. You deserve it. If you just need a safe place to talk to please feel free to email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can promise it will be the best decision of your life.