5 Sober Holiday Tips
It’s that time of year again where everyone is getting in the jolly spirit. They are posting pictures of their champagne glasses and their mugs of hot spirits, sipping wine around the fancy dinner table. If you are sober, this might leave you feeling a little, well… left out. But, don’t forget what sobriety means to you and why you chose this path. While some people can take alcohol or leave alcohol, you decided you couldn’t. You made the decision that a life without booze was the best life for you. Here are 5 tips to keep your sobriety intact.
by Lara Frazier
RE-CALL WHAT YOUR HOLIDAY LOOKED LIKE WITH BOOZE & DON’T FORGET THE UGLY PARTS.
If you are anything like me, then you didn’t just have one or two glasses of wine on the Holiday or on any day, for that matter. While I wasn’t a daily drinker, I was most certainly a binge drinker and any get together called for celebration and a way to drink til’ I passed out or fell asleep on Aunt Dottie’s recliner or in the fancy bathroom stall at the New Year’s Holiday Party. I re-call one Holiday party at work where I snorted lines of cocaine in my boss’s home and forgot to clean up the residue. There was a big fuss about who was snorting cocaine in the bathroom and I made sure to pretend it wasn’t me, even if some people knew exactly who it was. No matter what I did or didn’t do while I was drinking or using, I will never forget the horrible mornings waking up with a hangover, regret, and anxiety. I would black out and not remember how I acted the night before. Did I hurt one of my friends? Did I fall down on the dance floor? Did I drive drunk? I never get tired of not having to answer those questions. When I look back on what my life was like when drinking, and I remember the ugly parts – staying sober is a much easier decision than drinking.
PRACTICE YOUR NEW TALENT OF SAYING “NO.”
When I first got sober, I had to learn the art of saying No. I was a people pleaser and I never wanted to disappoint anyone. When someone invited me to a party, I said yes. If someone asked if they could drink around me, I said no problem. I didn’t want to be the one who was labeled as the non-drinking snob. I also didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities to be with friends or to impress my supervisors by not missing the holiday party. However, as I learned about boundaries and as I learned that I had to keep my sacred sobriety protected, I practiced the art of saying No. I said No, Thank You to high school friends who wanted to re-unite over cocktails. I said No, Thank You to the annual neighborhood party that was held. I said No to anything that would ruin my sobriety – or anything that had the potential for me to react and grab a bottle of booze.
REMEMBER, THAT YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION.
If you find yourself at an event where there is alcohol being served, you can kindly say No, Thank You. You don’t have to explain to your colleagues or to your friends why you aren’t drinking if you don’t want to. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. When I was at a restaurant one holiday, I remember ordering a Virgin drink. The bartender looked at me and said “Oh, That’s Exciting.” I wanted to tell her that just because I wasn’t drinking didn’t mean that I couldn’t have fun. I also wanted to tell her to examine her own drinking habits if this is her reaction to someone ordering a virgin drink. However, I just smiled and turned away. Some of my friends who are sober enjoy making a joke out of it when someone asks why they are not drinking. For example, if asked why, they would say “because I would end up naked on the bar top, puking, and on my way to the drug dealer’s house.” While some people find comfort in this, I didn’t. I didn’t want to have to admit that I had a problem with drinking when I was new to sobriety. I know that some people will also use the line that they “are not drinking for health reasons.” You can do this too if it makes you more comfortable. But, if people are prying into your business about why you are drinking or not drinking, just remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN.
If you are at an event or any situation where you feel too uncomfortable, be prepared beforehand and have an escape plan. If you have kids, say that you need to leave as one of them needs you. If you have pets, say you have to get home to your animal to let them out. Remember, that your sobriety is the number one thing you need to protect. If you don’t want to make an excuse, just leave. Know where the doors are and know exactly where you parked your car so you can leave at any moment. Your body and your intuition are good indicators of your level of comfort. If they are telling you to get out, then get out. Don’t risk your sobriety for any reason.
REWARD YOURSELF ANYTIME YOU PUT YOUR SOBRIETY FIRST.
Do you love big fancy bottles of green juice? Or perhaps your favorite thing is waking up early and going for a run? Maybe it’s not something so healthy, and it’s a big piece of chocolate. Anytime you put your sobriety first, do something for yourself that makes you feel good. This will allow you to feel comfortable and secure in your decisions as you start recognizing your ability to put you first. You don’t have to gift yourself every time you leave a holiday party or say no to an invitation. It can simply be an affirmation like “I am proud of myself for putting my sobriety first.” Remember that what you are doing isn’t easy and it takes hard work. However, as you gain more time in sobriety, you will start to see that it does get easier and you’ll start to understand why so many people who are sober say that their sobriety is their greatest gift.
Lara Frazier is a truth-teller, a sobriety warrior and a writer. She is a FIERCE believer in the power of owning our stories and is a strong advocate for addiction recovery. Lara shares a story of healing: in sobriety, through addiction, in life and love, and in all the other big huge moments of fear and magic that we rarely talk about, but we should. Find more of Lara’s work on her website at www.larafrazier.com or follow her on Instagram @sillylara.