How to Stay Happy Joyous and Free During the Holidays as a Sober Person

Because I’m an alcoholic and always will be, I would really like to be able to drink at these holiday parties I’m going to in the coming weeks.

But what happens then?  I fall into the Christmas tree.  It’s happened. TWICE.  Two separate years yours truly fell drunkenly into the company Christmas tree.  It’s really kind of funny.  NOW.  Years later.

Now that I am a SOBER alcoholic, I still would like to have a drink.  It’s just the way it is.  I know what happens.  I won’t do it.  That’s the difference. Just because I WANT to drink sometimes, doesn’t mean I do it.  I know the consequences.  I know that I lose everything if I drink.  But I’m an alcoholic. So yes, I still want to drink.  I’m not a newly sober person either.  13 years and I still have trouble around the holidays, and let’s be honest, WHO DOESN’T, drunk or sober.  I don’t have the compulsion, the NEED to drink anymore.  It’s more of a “I just don’t want to be quite this sober right at this moment” kind of thing.  It’s a crazy time of year, with all the wonderful, there is some terrible awful feeling stuff too, amiright?

Being an active alcoholic made life’s terrible events so much easier to “turn on, tune in, drop out” than this sober nonsense that I practice today.  It would be so much easier to welcome back Ignore and Deny.  My two old friends.  Closely followed by Stuff it and Pretend and ALWAYS BLAME OTHERS.  

Nowadays I hang around with Confront the truth and Deal with your shit a whole lot more than my old friends.  Being a highly sensitive person is treacherous.  Being highly sensitive and sober and left to deal with life on life’s terms is near impossible.  Throw in the pressure of Schmolidays and you’ve got a near Titanic level disaster on your hands.  But it can be handled.  And handled well.  SOBER.  Happy joyous and free can be yours for the low low price of change everything in your life!

Let’s face it.  As great as holidays with family and co-workers and friends can be, you are still left with YOU.  Your brain and your emotions are the constant.  Here are a few things that help me get through the holidays now that I’m sober and still feel the need to run away or resist a drink at times.

  1. The smoke break.  Now, I know I know.  I don’t smoke anymore and many of you don’t either.  BUT in theory, it’s still a great idea to have a smoke break.  When I first had babies, I had the epiphany that breastfeeding was a perfect smoke break!  When we stopped breastfeeding last Summer, I needed something new to walk away, take a break, get away from it all for a few minutes.  NOW when I feel like I need a break, I just go for a little walk with the kids.  Or by myself.  So whether you have kids or not, you can always GET UP AND WALK AWAY for a bit.  I find it does wonders for my attitude and spirit.   Walking around the block with kids is great for all involved.  A tiny bit of air and stretching the legs helps enormously.  Plus, no one can hear you scream if you’re far enough away.  
  2. The sidekick/wingman excuse. This works best for work parties or even just regular parties.  You know what I mean.  You go TOGETHER.  You leave TOGETHER.  My girl Lynnie and I are going to the work party together and we will leave together.  We got each other’s backs.  She’s not one of us, but she is my girl and she gets it.  So we do the deal and when we need to get the hell out, we do.   Hell, I like going out these days.  It used to be and often still is the case that I’d rather be horizontal on my couch with my 3 favorite people in the world, but there are many occasions I really like being social these days  (WHAT IN THE WORLD).  It still can strike at any moment though that I feel the need to bolt.  Having a good sidekick is essential.  The buddy system exists for a reason.  You look out for each other.
  3. The meeting defense.  Here’s the thing about needing a meeting as an alcoholic.  You will seldom encounter anybody who gives you shit about needing a meeting.  It’s a get out of jail free card.  Get out of the jail in your head for free.  GO.  JUST GO.  Talk to other like minded people.  Call or text if you can’t get to a meeting.  You’ve got phone numbers.  USE THEM.  Everything will be there for you when you return, but chances are your headspace and attitude adjustment will be all the change that’s required.
  4. Help somebody else.  Just get outside of yourself for 5 seconds and think about doing something for somebody else.  Volunteer.  Go on a visit.  Call someone.  Write someone a letter.  Give something to someone else.  Just do something that gets you outside of yourself.  I promise it will change your space.
  5. Gratitude Lists.  They work.  Don’t ask me how or why, but listing off a few things I’m grateful for, ALWAYS HELPS.
  6. Stop everything and just be.  This one works year round, every damn day.  Chances are this holiday season like most others, no matter how hard you try, you will still feel some stress to get it all done, to be enough for everyone and everything.  I don’t feel a lot of guilt these days about anything, but I do feel guilt about time.  And there is never enough.  BUT, if you can really commit to just “getting down on the floor with the kids” you won’t miss it.  You won’t have to look back and say, “I wish I had known then what I know now” because you do know now.  you know how precious all of this is.  RIGHT NOW.  You don’t let any of it go by unappreciated.

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Get down on the floor with the kids.  With the animals.  With the people who really matter to you.  With yourself!  Are you laughing?  Because hopefully you are laughing.  Hopefully you are so in it, you can’t even think about the fact that your dress may be flipped up and a bit embarrassing.  When you are in it, really in it, nothing else matters.  You are tackled by love and laughter and have no thoughts of drinking.  At least I don’t.  I don’t give a rip about presents or perfect presentation of food or home.  What I do give a rip about are moments.  These moments that as they happen you think, “This is never ever going to happen again and I am so damn happy to be here NOW. Sober.  Happy joyous and free.”  This is all that matters.  Not that we got one more thing for a stocking or that one batch of cookies was made just right.  Nobody is going to care that I didn’t write as many blog posts this month because they will hopefully be getting down on the floor with their people too.

We’ve all got to work for our happy joyous and free a little bit.  It doesn’t just happen. Sometimes a bit harder than others and not every holiday, hell not every day, is going to be great.  But when you’ve been to hell and come back to tell the story, every damn day is pretty darn good.  NOW.  Sober.  You are worthy of happiness.  One day at a time.

So, come on, GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR WITH ME.  Don’t make it weird.

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