Flourishing at Christmas – 8 Tips

Flourishing at Christmas – 8 Tips

I’m feeling a damn sight better prepared this year than I did heading into Christmas 2022.

I was just 3.5 months alcohol free and I was full of determination to continue with my sobriety no matter what the festive period had to throw at me. But it was tough, whether the guidance & tips were out there and I just missed it, I felt like I had to absolutely wing it with what info I had soaked up during the previous 115 days. I can’t pretend I found it easy, Christmas, like it has been for many, has always been a complete booze fest for me and my family. I would pretty much write off any form of healthy eating or any consideration for my health whatsoever for the entire month. The second the 1st of December landed, it was a ‘F it it’s Christmas’ mentality until the 2nd Jan (because lets be honest, who didn’t drink on new years day?!)… this happened for over 20 years! SO it was always going to be a tricky ‘first’.

 

The hardest part for me was that the solid support I’d had from Dale fell off the face of the earth the second he got into the Christmas spirit, he’d been my rock since August 30th (my day 1) but the second that booze got into his tummy on his first day of leave, he was in holiday mode and the booze took over (who could blame him, it wasn’t him that had decided to give up the booze). Now don’t get me wrong, he’s not a big drinker at all, he’s one of those strange ones that can take it or leave it, but the plans we’d made to stick to our schedule so I could protect my sobriety, soon went out of the window when all the ad hoc invites started to land, pub this, buffet that because rightly so, he wanted to keep the previous traditions and not ‘miss out’. – I quickly realised that I was on a solo mission to get through the Christmas holiday without losing my mind. I faced a few really hard lessons that year, one being that this was about me and no one else, I couldn’t and shouldn’t expect anyone else to get this, another being that I was going to have to get over the sheer resentment I felt for everyone else that was drinking.

 

All of this still feels very fresh in my mind and to help you navigate a sober / alcohol free Christmas with as much ease as possible, I’ve created a bit of tool kit below to provide you with the help I longed for this time last year.

 

Here goes…

Get involved with Alcohol free options
Up until Christmas I actually found AF drinks quite triggering BUT I quickly realised that I wanted to feel like I was joining in, so I threw myself into ALL the AF fizz I could get my hands on.

 

Here’s a few of my current favourites:

  • AF mulled wine – Morrisons actually do a lovely one, make sure you add all the snazzy bits just as you would if it was full of booze.
  • Fizz – Lyres AF Classico or my latest obsession – Steinbock (wow).
  • Gin – Whitely Neil AF Rhubarb and Ginger
  • Cocktail – Clean & Co T – their AF Margarita recipe is incredible
  • Beer – Clean Break Brewing AF beer

 

Plan ahead, everything. Know exactly what the schedule is so nothing can take you by surprise.

 

Say no to events that are out of the blue, last minute or you just simply don’t want to go. Protecting your own peace and sobriety is what needs to come first.

 

Keep the traditions where you can.

  • Dale and I always had a bucks fizz on Christmas day morning, so we carried this on but with Lyres Classico and orange juice.
  • We also always used to drink together on Christmas eve in front of the fire talking about how excited we were for the kids in the morning, so we kept the tradition and still did this but replaced the alcohol with AF drinks to avoid  changing things too much, creating a void and making things harder.
  • Go to that ‘wreath making workshop that’s brimming with red wine and mince pies’ you love to go to each year – just take your own drinks.

 

Keep that glass full when you’re socialising. This stops others asking what you’re drinking when going to the bar and avoids those tricky questions if you aren’t ready to answer them.

 

Drive to an event where you want to be able to leave when you’re ready. Be sure to go and say hello to the host as soon as you get there so you don’t feel guilty about making a swift exit when you fancy it.

 

Maintain those new gorgeous habits you’ve worked so hard to implement – Whatever you do, don’t hit the chuff it button on everything, don’t let those lifeline routines slip just because it’s Christmas. Get out for daily daylight, walks, fresh air. Keep your fitness regime where you can. Get the kids involved too.

 

Talk talk talk, keep the conversation going, share how you’re feeling with others that are in a similar boat, be that in private Facebook groups, Instagram communities, sober meet ups etc. Just don’t go within yourself with any worries or discomfort you may be facing. We all go through challenges in sobriety, I’m yet to experience one person turn another down in their hour of need so reach out.

 

Christmas will be a different experience for everyone, go easy on yourself and get in touch if you need me!