Christmas is coming quickly and the signs of it are everywhere.
Giving up alcohol wasn’t something I could just do and facing my first Christmas sober was frightening. Pay attention to your surroundings this time of year and you’ll how embedded alcohol is in our culture during the holidays in North America.
We’re surrounded by it, and it’s something that a person with my disease cannot have. Every fiber of my being wants it even though my brain and heart don’t. It’s a need within which I cannot kill, I can manage it and ensure that I am healthy by keeping my spiritual foundation whole…but it still lies in wait.
Describing it isn’t easy but if you picture someone who has a passion for sweets and is a diabetic at a function in a bakery you may begin to get my drift.
Let’s look at it this way, when you’re at a social gathering why do you drink?
Ask yourself this question honestly.
Is it the taste, the fact that it takes the nervous edge off, does it help you become more sociable, make it easier to relax?
Or is it just what you do?
For me it had become something I did without thought and I certainly wouldn’t have intended to over indulge.
But I did and once I started I couldn’t stop…..
With the Christmas season arriving many of us are put into situations which we’d rather not be in.
Seriously who wants to hang with the whiny girl from the office while she get hammered in a sequence cocktail dress??
How will you handle it?
Will you be the perfect guest, engaging and polite? Will you become the life of the party?
You could always be like I was and go into the gathering charming and fun, have a few too many drinks and end up sloppy and rude. It’s a fantastic way to build up people’s negative opinions of you and you’re certain to wake with an awful feeling of shame and poor self-image.
Sound like a plan?
How about this, go in with a plan and stick to it. If you look back over your history and see that you cannot predict your behavior while drinking alcohol why not stay sober? If you look inside and see that’s not an option well then it may be time to address this.
If you do plan to drink, even one alcoholic beverage then plan for a way home. Get a cab, carpool…with enough money in your pocket for a cab in case your driver happens to have too many!
If you’re a recovering alcoholic and have events to attend you need an action plan.
Here are some tips for the alcohlic at Christmas gatherings I’ve found handy:
1 – Arrive early and mingle. This will allow you to get comfortable and spend time with people before they get their “glow” on.
2 – Bring a friend with you. Backup is good.
3 – Order your drinks in a fancy glass. It’s not just so you feel special, if you’re not “out” as an alcoholic there’s a chance for drunk Joe to pressure you to have a drink.
4 – Have an escape plan ready. We don’t know when something will trigger us, but when it’s happened with me I don’t feel regret at leaving. I simply tell the host I have to go, and use an excuse if you must. People will never question you if you say you’re ill, kids need you etc. If they do…well that says a lot about them.
5 – Find the sober crowd. It’s been shocking to see how many folks don’t drink at these gatherings, funny how when you’re tipsy you think everyone is.
6 – Have fun. Don’t let your worry about being noticeable stop you from enjoying, we’re not that bloody special! Most people won’t even be aware you’re not drinking.
Those of you who aren’t alcoholic please do NOT do the following if you’re around people such as myself:
1 – Bring up my past drunken behavior – it’s not cute
2 – Offer me an alcoholic drink, again not amusing
3 – Tell me your recent drinking stories….been there
4 – Be surprised if I walk away while you slur gibberish at me – yeah I was that way once and am not as nice or patient as you were with me. Bad me.
5 – Expect any amends that night – amends are something that the alcoholic makes when the timing is right, both location and in their heads/hearts.
6 – Tell me you pity me – get over yourself
7 – Treat me differently, well not unless you treated me badly before…just sayin.
8 – Make a big deal over your choice of beverage, frankly I don’t care which vineyard produced it anymore. I’d much rather talk about your life.
The fact is that I chose to get sober and I’m loving life, there’s nothing to pity or be afraid of. I’m not judging you or your drinking, that’s up to you to figure out. I’m at the gathering to enjoy myself and connect with you.
So tell me friends, what are you doing to prep for the social gatherings?
Do you have plans such as these, do you even put thought into how you will or will not partake in alcoholic spirits?
good luck with your sobriety. I wish some of my family members would realize how out of control their drinking is lately and clean up!
Thanks Melinda, keep praying
Mrs D says
Just last night I went out to a bar with a couple of girlfriends and got a lot of pity noises and expressions from them. They’re lovely and are just getting used to the fact that I don’t drink but the pity really annoys me. Great post, thanks! Mrs D xxx
I can totallly understand!
Multi-Testing Mommy says
Our society can certainly make things very difficult on people who suffer from this disease. It’s like a pressure thing and many people just don’t understand when someone turns away a drink. Stay strong, believe in yourself! AND celebrate with the people you care about and who care about you.
Doris C says
My husband has been sober for 20 years now and the most difficult part was we had to change our friends (who we did things with) for the first few years but our true friends, although not asked to did not drink in our home or when we came over, I myself didn’t have the same problem but if I expect him to stay sober I feel I have to do the same but I have had the ocaasional drink. It is a hard thing to overcome but to his credit he didn’t go to any program just quit, and I had my doubts because the whole family are affected with the same disease and usually people need help, also we were young too which makes it even harder! Good Luck to you but your life must be so much better:)
I love the way you laid it all out. And I love # 8: “Make a big deal over your choice of beverage, frankly I don’t care which vineyard produced it anymore. I’d much rather talk about your life.”