‘Tis The Season For The Sober Holidays Survival Guide
Oh, what can be said about the wonderful holiday season!? It’s stressful. It’s demanding, it’s exhausting. It sure can be a challenge in sobriety! But it is nothing compared to the way I used to spend my holiday season… drunk and miserable.
This year especially, I seem to have many memory bubbles of the holidays past. It’s not a bad thing at all, they just remind me of how far I have come in my journey. Wow, was that really me? It’s hard to believe it! When I look back I can totally see the craziness of my addiction! I was so completely consumed by my disease that nothing else mattered.
I have that great memory of spending one Thanksgiving day at the local bar, after telling my family that I was severely sick and just couldn’t make it out of bed. I remember the bar was pretty empty. I spent the time talking to strangers and watching football and drinking beer after beer. I actually thought that this was just great and I was a badass! Ha! And the next day I was truly “sick” with a massive hangover!
There was also that one Christmas that I drank port wine with my dad, and got drunk! I ended up in a blackout for most of the day and I don’t remember much but some bits and pieces. I do remember waking up really early the next morning, horribly riddled with shame and guilt, I snuck-out the door before anyone got up. No one ever talked about that incident.
And there was that other Christmas that I took a bus to my parents’ house because I lost my license after my DUI. This might have been a perfect time to stay home and get drunk, but I was so determined to keep up appearances, that I found a way to get to their house, some 45 miles away. That’s right, I took a train, and a bus, and a taxi! Then satisfied with my successful mission, I got drunk. Oh… and there are more, but I don’t want to waste any more space here with those memories.
If you really can’t relax, and you absolutely cannot leave, what works wonders for me is to tell myself that this is just one day out of my life, I can do this for just this day! I can stay sober today and see how I feel tomorrow. Most likely the next day I will feel better, and I will feel even better because I stayed sober!
Today I have new memories. Sobriety gave me new life and a new perspective. It gave me holidays spent with family, laughing and hugging. It has made me focus on the important things in life, like family. Even giving presents has become a new ritual; I no longer focused on appearances, and I am free to choose the gifts that really matter. It can still be stressful but the best part is that my drinking no longer adds to it! These days I get involved, step in, and help out! This keeps me busy and my mind occupied.
Here are a few ideas that help me survive the holidays sober:
- Let go of perfectionism. No one and I mean not a single person in the world is perfect! It is OK to be imperfect.
- Accept things as they are, neither good or bad. The less judgment you place on a situation the better you will be able to deal with it.
- Focus on the moment and do not project. When we project how things are going to be, they almost always happen just like we projected.
- Don’t take anything personally. This is huge, when we are in our heads and internalizing everyone’s behavior, that they don’t like us, that they don’t want us around, that we embarrass them, we are the only ones hurting. The fact is that even if they feel that way, those are their feelings, not ours.
- Remember that we are all different people. And when we throw a bunch of different people together it’s almost inevitable for tensions to raise. But that doesn’t mean that we have to get upset and we do not have to take their crap on and make it ours.
And lastly, be positive and enjoy yourself! After all, that’s what the season is all about right!? And stay connected! Keep writing, keep reading and keep sharing. We all are in this together and together is how we can get through it, and stay sober!
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