When it comes to Christmas it may feel like everyone in the World is drinking alcohol. That if you want to be sober at Christmas then you will be the exception. This in turn may make you think everyone is judging you. Worst still that you are boring
Alcohol is really pushed on us at Christmas: Not just by adverts but in programmes such as your favourite soap operas, at fund raising events and raffles, in the workplace, and by friends and family. It is the whole idea that how adults celebrate is by drinking. That after a long year we deserve to let our hair down. You may wish to read my previous post on How Easy is it not to drink alcohol?
Choosing to Be Sober at Christmas
It should therefore have come as no surprise to me that all the posts I could find on being sober at Christmas were phased as if the reader had a problem with alcohol. In general, society seems accepting of just about everyone drinking, even those who are pregnant or breastfeeding can have at least one drink and all will be okay! Even children are encouraged to have a small glass with dinner on occasion.
If you do not drink then you may feel that you are seen as a bit of a party-pooper! That, to choose not to drink must mean that you seriously “can’t handle your drink!” But there’s more and more people who are turning their backs on the demon drink. Not because they have any sort of issue but just have decided not to. Just as the same as you made decide not to drink Coca Cola but instead have lemonade.
Reasons for a Sober Christmas
Personally I think a sober Christmas is better. Christmas is a time for family and being present. By not drinking you can fully engage in the day, really enjoying your Christmas dinner! The next day you will be fresh and be able to remember it more.
Another advantage of being sober at Christmas is that it also means you can do things such as drive. Meaning you can be helpful to others and able to deal with emergencies. Driving can be given as a reason for not drinking but be aware that people will say that you are okay to have one if you go down this route.
What is Hard About Being Sober
Many people I feel drink because they worry what people may think of them: But do they actually consider about what people think about their drunk behaviour? Or is it just assumed that the drink lets them off!
People worry that they may be perceived as being boring but alcohol only heightens anxieties. In actual fact anyone can be a crazy drunk but I am sure people have more admiration for people who can do stuff just by themselves! You don’t need to be drunk to have fun – that’s just what we have pushed on us by people who want to make money from alcohol!
Hands up it can be exhausting being with others but when you do not drink you may actually find out more interesting things about them. If you were worried about how you’d look if you went home early then you’d be surprised to know that people don’t actually seem to care! The same as what you look like dancing. They are all worrying about themselves. This means you can leave when you are ready to.
Ways to Help with your Sobriety at Christmas
Why you are Doing it
It is a good idea to be armed with some resources to help with your sobriety at Christmas. First of all I guess it is to remember why you are doing it. Give yourself a focus and remind yourself why you are grateful to be sober.
Initially for myself I was proving I could do it for a year. When it came to the following Christmas I just didn’t see the point in drinking. It doesn’t do anything good for my body or my mental health. Indeed it also costs quite a bit of money!
The Build up to Being Sober at Christmas
Build yourself up to be around alcohol in the lead up to the big day. Even if you know you haven’t got a problem with drink you probably will not be aware of how much other people think you should drink! Avoid places such as pubs, clubs and parties until you are ready. Find other non-drinkers and those who are willing to support you.
Don’t isolate yourself though. Make sure you meet up in places without alcohol at first. Find that someone to talk to – especially if you feel you need support. Also maybe you could take up new interests and hobbies. Ones that help give you balance, keep you active.
You may find it helpful to read Quit Lit and find ways that you can be fun without drinking. Observe people who are drinking and see if their jokes are really that funny, and if their behaviour is how you want to be behaving.
Helpful Strategies to Stay Sober at Christmas
There are a number of ways to help with a sober Christmas day. First of all have an escape plan. Possibly have an excuse to leave, especially if there is an invitation to stay overnight.
Ensure there are non-alcoholic beverages. There’s such a huge range of drinks available out there. Those which imitate alcohol, hot ones, cold ones – including juices, slushies, and ice-cream filled milkshakes. The flavours are generally much nicer than alcohol in my opinion. Also it can make it easier to up your water intake, which also has many benefits.
If you have a drink in your hand then people are less likely to offer you an alcoholic one. If you are brave enough just tell people that you do not drink. This reframing will help you but also they might not even ask why. That way they will be less likely to try to persuade you to have at least one.
Keep busy: Whether that’s having fun (dancing or playing games for example), or being helpful (taking photos or washing up). This will help you stay focused and not get bored, as well as being less likely to be offered a drink.
If you are struggling with cravings then keep something in your hands and eat sugary things. Also you may find that having alone breaks help.
Here’s hoping you have a Very Merry Christmas