So the Christmas Party season is soon upon us and comes December comes parties, work social and adverts on the tele showing the only way to have fun is to drink copious amounts of alcohol.
This year will be my third sober Christmas (god willing) and my previous two have been amazing and filled with fun. I learned a lot from these first years as to how to cope and how to avoid temptation.
Have an exit strategy – this is recovery basics 101. No matter where you are going or what you are doing always have an exit strategy in mind, a reason to leave early or even to just go and take a breather.
My first sober December started on the 5th of that month, so you can imagine how difficult everything felt. Not everyone was aware that my drinking had reached the level it had and I definitely didn’t announce my new lifestyle choice. In work I did share this with some colleagues and there were some people who were happy I had stopped and some who thought it was just another phase I was going to. It was also my first year as a single person after a seventeen year relationship.
The Christmas work party was my first big conquest but I put certain measure in place;
- I drove
- I confided in one colleague to help me get soft drinks without causing a fuss
- I smiled and told everyone how nice they looked but took regular breaks to the bathroom just to get a 5 minute reprieve.
- When the dinner was over and the drunken dancing started I left.
I resented that night so much I cannot explain it to you. I was angry very angry at everyone, at me at life. As soon as I left I phoned someone in AA and told them I was gong to get wine on the way home and get drunk – I didn’t. I guess my point here is sometimes the art of talking is enough to take the power out of the feeling.
Christmas day is a tough one for me too, it is my birthday and every year I would be given bottles of Champagne and by 10am would have drunk most of them – after all I was allowed as it was my birthday.
Christmas Day that year I got up and started making breakfast for me and my two sons. We looked at each other in confusion and I was uncomfortable and worried about being in the house all day. One of my kids suggested that we all get in the car and drive to London, it’s a 90 minute drive for us. Without hesitation I said “yes let’s do it”.
Off we went on an expedition and had the best christmas day/birthday day that I had in a long time. We parked on Pall Mall, we walked round all the sites around Trafalgar Square and took various selfies – one of which is framed in my living room.
We laughed and were silly and by the time we drove home we were all so shattered that we vegged out in front of Doctor Who, so the same outcome as most years without the memory loss or hangover.