Christmas 2020 is like no other. Pubs closed, markets banned and work parties cancelled. So why not use the opportunity to head into 2021 a happier and healthier you by going sober this Christmas?
Aah, December. The season of sparkly lights and chocolate for breakfast.
Have you donned your Christmas jumper and embraced the festive feel yet? Or are you still trying to figure out the Government guidelines, wondering how you can manage to have a family Christmas without leaving Grandpa Bert home alone?
It’s been a crazy year. And after two lots of lockdown, the pressure’s on to make this Christmas our best yet.
Eat, drink and be merry as the saying goes. But for some of us, being merry inevitably leads to being drunk. Being drunk leads to a hangover. And a hangover makes us grumpy. We end up spending Christmas feeling more ‘Bah Humbug’ than Scrooge himself. There’s nothing worse than waking up on Christmas or Boxing Day feeling like you’ve been run over by Santa’s sleigh.
Christmas 2020 is going to be different for us all. So why not make the most of the changes and use it as an opportunity to try sobriety?
Let’s be honest, how many of you yelled at the kids last year for being too noisy whilst you nursed a sore head? Or perhaps you struggled to keep your eyes open past 3pm after knocking the wine back a little too early? I know many who did. Back in the day, binge-drinking stole too many hours from my life and spoilt too many memories. I’m planning for a sober festive season and really looking forward to it.
What’s more, if I can do it, you can too.
Imagine creating joyful memories instead of booze-fuelled guilty ones. Being able to wake up with a clear head, feeling full of energy. And best of all, if you have children, rediscovering the magic of Christmas through their eyes. They don’t need alcohol to have fun. Isn’t it time you followed their example?
Enjoying your first sober Christmas needs a little planning. Follow these 5 simple tips and you’ll be ready to rock your best family Christmas yet.
1. Make a firm decision to go sober and stick to it.
Despite being awful, the recent events of 2020 have laid down the foundations to help you go sober. There’s never been a better time to ditch the drink.
Gone are the boozy work Christmas parties and free bars. (No having to skulk into the office on Monday morning wondering who you might have offended with your alternative version of Jingle Bells.)
Christmas markets aren’t happening. There’s no excuse to sip cinnamon-laced mulled wine every half hour between shops.
Even some of the pubs have had to close their doors, leaving no excuse for not spending more time with your family.
Make the most of these differences that the Universe has thrown our way. Decide to go sober and stick to it. There’s no room for being wishy-washy. It won’t work if you plan on being sober for only one day. Or if you’re only going to drink between certain hours. The temptation will prove too much. And you’ll go stir crazy thinking about when you can and can’t have a drink.
Make sobriety your priority and put all the benefits of a sober Christmas to the front of your mind.
Play it forward and think about how fabulous you’ll feel when you’re:
Less stressed and more in control
Enjoying real sleep instead of drunken drowsiness
Sparkling brighter than the lights on the tree
It’s all possible. Decide to go sober, write down your whys, and stick to it.
2. Prepare your responses
One of the difficulties you’ll face going sober is the response of other people. We’re curious creatures. If you’re usually topping up your wine glass every ten minutes and that isn’t happening, you can bet people will start to comment.
The easy way to overcome this is by having your responses planned. (It’s none of their business anyway, but having an answer at the ready will shut down the ‘why aren’t you drinking?’ conversation quicker.)
There’s nothing wrong in being honest and telling them your genuine reasons for staying sober. You’re creating a fabulous Christmas for your family. Be proud of your decision. But if you’re still unsure in your sobriety, there is an easier route. Stick to short responses. You’re driving, you’re tired or use that well-known gem – you’re taking medication.
Whatever answer you choose, say it with confidence, hold your head high and move on. Then sit back and watch them get plastered, knowing you can revel in the smugness of being hangover-free the next morning.
3. Enjoy all the treats and plan your drinks in advance
One of the biggest joys about Christmas is the food. Who doesn’t love all the deliciousness of a mince pie and clotted cream or a slice of fruity Christmas cake?
Going sober doesn’t mean you have to miss out. It means you get to enjoy all the food without feeling guilty. You get to savour all the flavour. Honestly, food tastes so much nicer when you aren’t depressing all your senses with alcohol.
There’s no reason why you should feel that you’re missing out with the drinks either. Being sober doesn’t mean you have to stick to fizzy pop or water with the kids.
Treat yourself to a non-alcoholic version of your fave tipple. Low and no alcohol drink brands are on the rise. And their popularity is increasing too. The latest survey from the Portman Group (an alcohol social responsibility body) showed that 9% of 18-24-year-olds have already switched to alcohol-free versions. Sober is the new cool.
Check out The WiseBartender for ideas. They’ve spent over three years gathering together the best AF brands into one easy-to-order online store. (This blog is not affiliated and there are lots of other online companies out there. This one just happens to be my fave.)
And if you’re heading out to another household in your Covid Christmas bubble, always take your own drinks with you. That way you can enjoy the evening without stressing about what soft drinks will be available. You’ll have all the fun, but none of the hangxiety the next day.
4. Make time for yourself and change things up
Christmas is a busy time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the present buying, cooking and entertaining. This year make sure you take time out for you. Step up your self-care and look after your sanity.
It’s the perfect time to indulge in a bit of pampering. Book yourself in for a new hairstyle or enjoy a manicure. When you look and feel your best, your mindset alters. You start to feel more positive about yourself, and you won’t need alcohol to boost your confidence.
Get the kids outside for some exercise. Take a walk and stretch your legs. If some family traditions involve drinking, change them up. Instead of slurping wine whilst decorating the tree, get the family dancing around it instead. Wear your Christmas jumpers and when the music stops add a decoration. It’ll get the endorphins blasting around your body, and the kids will love the excitement and silliness of it all. Creating new family traditions embeds your sobriety for future years.
Planning to feel good on the outside will make you feel 100% stronger on the inside.
5. Have an escape plan and ask for help if you need it
Have your escape plan ready in case temptation gets too much, and you find yourself struggling to bat off the wine witch. Have a long soak in the bath. Get out of the house and go for a walk. Take a drive. If you’re not at your own home, make sure you have a plan to leave at a suitable time, preferably before the drunken antics of others test your sober patience.
Remember, you don’t have to tackle a sober Christmas on your own. Tell your nearest and dearest that you’re opting out of the alcohol action this year. They’ll hopefully support you all the way. If your friends and family are aware, they’re also less likely to buy you booze as a pressie. (Cue all the beautiful candles, notebooks and choccies.)
But what do you do when the going gets really tough, and you want to reach for a drink?
Tap into one of the many support groups out there. Take a look on Facebook or Instagram for sober inspiration. Check out The Sober Fish Story who I partner with to run our Super Sober Challenges. Or book a JOMO call with me via my website Jojo Bailey.
Finally, remember you’re doing this for you. If you face any negativity, chances are that person has a problem with their own drinking habits. It’s not a reflection on you, ignore it and move on. Be proud of yourself. You’re laying the sober foundations for a happier, healthier and stronger you in 2021 and that is only ever going to be a positive.
What have you got to lose? End 2020 on a high. Go sober, go strong and go live your best life.
Click here to get your sober journey started.