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Surviving the Holiday Season Newly Sober

Surviving the Holiday SeasonSure, we’re now in the holiday season. Thanksgiving has just passed and that’s the traditional count down to Christmas. To be sure, this is probably the hardest time of the year to give up drinking. What with office parties, drinks with friends, invitations to this and that, and the last thing you want to do is stand out and be the one not drinking.

But, help is indeed at hand. I gave up on the shortest day, December 21st and survived. I once enjoyed binge drinking with friends…but I made it through and with some tips, you can too.

Firstly, if you’ve decided you want to limit your drinking or finish completely, listen to your own thoughts. Well meaning advice from friends around you, that one drink will be fine, don’t listen to them. To be honest, i always thought that people were saying these kinds of things to help them, not you.

Have a couple of strategies on standby, after all every boy scout should be prepared, and so should you be. Have an excuse for not drinking, you’re on medication, you’re driving, or your other half is on a night shift and needs the car back. Whatever it takes, have a white lie at the ready.

Don’t be afraid to tell the barman that you’ve given up drinking, and that you’re drunk friends will try to buy you drinks, but tell him/her that you just want soda water with ice, lemon and an umbrella just like your friends – it’s just between you and him.

Act drunk. Most people on a night out who drink will be quite drunk after an hour or two and won’t remember the night’s events the following day. You will though! As they start to get loud, then do the same, as they start to sing, do the same. Mimicking might help you fit in more and be a boost to your confidence. Either way, so long as it helps you stick to your goal of not drinking that night, then anything goes.

Stay cool, stay sober, keep on track. That’s why we say, “Take it a day at a time.” Because at the start, that’s all you can really do and it’s the process that helps you pull yourself out of the rough and into the clear, and into the new you.

With some strategies and a game plan in your head before you go out over the Christmas period, surviving the holiday season will be easier than you can imagine.

If you are newly sober, or have abstained for a while, write up in the comments what your experiences of the holiday season are and what you did to keep on track.

Happy Christmas

James

P.s. If, you drink an alcoholic drink by mistake, don’t beat yourself up, start over and try again..!

Comments

  1. Pat Flanagan says:

    I am looking forward to “celebrating ” my fourth Christmas alcohol free and i will be five years free on the 2nd of January 2017. My simple message is that it gets easier each year .Yes the first year was difficult but not as hard as I expected. The hard part was making the decision to stop and to really mean it. Than one day at a time and now almost 5 years am so pleased I am on this journey that continues each day

    Go for it and good luck

    • Congratulations Pat and good to hear from you again. Yep, it does get easier each year and then you stop thinking about it at all. You never imagine at the start that it would be like that one day, but it is. Keep in touch, James

      • Pat Flanagan says:

        Thanks James your blog is an inspiration and very helpful as they say it’s good to talk ! I reach out and help anyone who asks i have been able to offer support 2 two people in my broad circle who have stopped the habit.

  2. 2 days and I have terrible headaches

    • Hi Keith,
      I think it’s probably normal, but not being a medic you should always check with your doctor if you feel unwell. Take it a day at a time and keep a diary of how you feel.

      Keep in touch with us here too. Right now you need lots of motivation and help, so talk to family and read through the posts and comments, especially the comments as you’ll see that you are not alone!

      James

  3. I am a typical binge drinker. I don’t give drink a thought all week but as soon as the weekend comes I start drinking and cannot stop. I wake up the next day and I absolutely hate myself. I feel like I’ve done something terrible but I can’t remember. I think that everybody is talking about me and at any moment I’m going to find out what terrible thing I’ve done. It’s an awful feeling and it takes a good 3 or 4 days for it to fade.

    I am on day 2 of quitting but I regularly go for days without a drink so it’s hard for me to count it as abstinence until at least two weeks have passed.

    I’m not looking forward to getting through Christmas without drinking. I feel strong enough to do it but I know that family and friends will put me under pressure to drink.

    • Hi Racheal, Thanks for your comment. What you’ve described is binge drinking in a nutshell..! It’s certainly what i used to go through – drinking to excess, embarrassment, then the self-hating…the cyclical nature of it all and somehow you’d be prepared to go through it all the next weekend again. It sounds like you’re in the right place though, willing to give it up. Don’t worry that it is just 2 days, take it literally a day at a time – it does help. Take some tips from this post, they do work. Feel free to post comments daily, it might help you to keep focused. James

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