It can be a challenge (and a triumph) to stay sober when you live in a society that glamorizes alcohol. Mix in preparing for house guests, family drama, and obligatory gift-giving, and this time of year adds a certain level of peppermint-scented pressure.
If you want to stay sober this holiday season, or support someone who is, here are some helpful tips:
Simply put – bring your own beverage if you’re trying to stay sober!
If you’re hosting, consider serving a mocktail. Being sober doesn’t mean you no longer enjoy a carefully crafted concoction. I harshly judge any bartender who hands me a Shirley Temple after I’ve said, “I’m sober, surprise me.” And please don’t offer me a soda unless you’re expecting me to sit at the kid’s table.
There are also many options of ready-to-drink non-alcoholic beverages on the market today. Consider picking up a few as an option for your guests.
- Find/Be a Safe Space
For some, this means finding friends, family, or community to take solace in. For me, this also means locating the only bathroom in my parents’ house that has a functioning lock on the door.
If someone confides in you about being sober this holiday, remember that you don’t have to understand to be supportive. And don’t be a cotton-headed ninnymuggins and feel the need to defend your own drinking habits. That’s called projecting, and this isn’t about you. Ask what you can do to help. Solidarity is a great way to show support.
- Pinpoint Peace Problems
These include people, places, and situations that elicit what my life coach calls, “crunchy feelings,” i.e. anxiety, anger, and resentment. Since I believe the only crunchy thing at a holiday party should be fried onions atop a green bean casserole, it’s good to know your triggers. It’s Ok if your 2-year-old might as well have “trigger” stamped on their forehead. Solicit assistance from anyone who will help you hold onto your sanity.
- Build Boundaries
Setting boundaries may feel uncomfortable, but they provide a sense of control that I had ironically tried to achieve through drinking. “No,” is a full sentence. If you’ve got a sober person in your life, please reread the previous sentence. And try reading The Book of Boundaries by Melissa Urban, New York Times best-selling author, Whole30 CEO, mother, wife and sober individual.
- Know Your “Why”
Why are you choosing not to drink? (Or can you acknowledge why your friends and family may be choosing not to?) Did you ruin your mother’s white tablecloth with your fourth glass of red wine last Thanksgiving? If you did, you are not alone. Write down your reasons (because let’s be honest, there’s likely more than one) for wanting to stay sober. Alternatively, you can put a note on your phone or, my personal fave, take a photo of the note and make it your background.
Stay focused on the positives that come from the absence of alcohol, such as being able to remember how the turkey tasted. Because if you haven’t heard, sobriety is in-season and my cranberry mint mocktail and I are here for it.
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