Are the holidays’ or social events triggers for you to drink too much? It was for me. Here are 6 tips to stay sober during the holidays. This time of year is busy with holiday gatherings, family get-togethers, and work parties. It’s a time to celebrate relationships, eat great food, and drink. For me, there is a level of stress that comes automatically with travel, packing, making small talk, eating too much and of course drinking. At first when I stopped drinking each social event and holiday was a hurdle I had to jump. I found it more stressful than normal because now I felt like an outsider who didn’t drink. I pray these tips will help you stay sober too.
I told friends, family and acquaintances I had stopped drinking. Not only did I hear myself say it out loud and back into my own ears, but it also helped me have some accountability. I thought most everyone was supportive and encouraging. I knew if I told enough people it would motivate me to stay committed. Plus if they saw me drink they would ask questions. If you’re friends and family are not being supportive you might have to re-evaluate how much time you spend with them.
HAVE A DRINK IN YOUR HAND
I discovered that having a drink in my hand was helpful. Could it really be that holding a wine glass is the trick? learned to love ice water and fresh lemon, or a flavored vinaigrette with La Croix made me feel part of the group. It’s silly that just a glass can make all the difference, but for me it did. When you stop drinking you already feel like an outcast like there is something wrong with you that you can’t handle it. Try using your favorite glass with another beverage.
LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO”
They say “No” is a complete sentence. I have a hard time saying no, especially to myself. Do you find it hard to discipline yourself? That is why saying yes to something better, worked for me. I found other non-beverages that I liked to drink. While attending a social event I told the bartender I had quit drinking and did she have a suggestion of what I could have. She said, “I quit drinking too, here’s what I discovered.” Let me tell you that made my day. The amazing part is I’m in a room full of drinkers and God placed this gal in my path as if to say “Hang in there Lorie, you’ve got this.” The drink she made had Pellegrino, cranberry juice and a wedge of lime. It was refreshing and I felt like I fit in.
HAVE THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS
Do you think suddenly everyone is going to be respectful of your decision and not drink while you’re around? I can tell you this doesn’t usually happen. I had to have the right expectations. This is my problem, not anyone else’s. My husband doesn’t have a drinking problem. He can drink and enjoy one glass and he’s fine. I can’t have expectations that because I’m not drinking no one else should. A number of years ago we were out with a couple and the husband was an alcoholic and quit drinking yet his new wife still drank. I said to him, “Doesn’t that bother you that she drinks around you?” He said, “No, I’m the alcoholic not her. This is my problem, not hers.” That spoke volumes to me and it helped me keep my expectations in check.
ASK FOR HELP
It’s okay to ask for help. I have a group of friends I asked if I could reach out to in times of need. They were there when I wasn’t feeling strong, confident and needed some prayer and encouragement. You can ask whoever you want. I wanted a list of 6 trusted friends. Surely one of the 6 would be able to engage with me when I needed help. I was amazed that when I did reach out almost everyone responded with a pep talk, a prayer or “You Go, Girl!”
LEAVE IF NECESSARY
There is always a way out. Do you believe that? At first, I wasn’t sure I did. I am one who likes to stay till the end, be one of the last to leave for fear of missing out. It’s a lie I created in my head. Unless you are chained to a chair you always have the option of leaving even if you are with your extended family. Go for a walk around the block or leave altogether, the choice is yours. You may have to muster up some courage to walk out but you can do it. Chances are if everyone else is drinking they won’t even know your gone. Or maybe it will be a wake-up call for them when they notice their comments or goading were totally uncalled for. It’s really your choice what you put up with or don’t.
Every event and holiday my first year brought a bunch of stress and challenges. These tips helped me survive without drinking. I’m so glad I did. I had to be strong and courageous. You can be too.
Do you have any tips to guard yourself against drinking over the holidays? I’d love to hear them!