Christmas can be a difficult time of year for anyone who struggles with alcoholism. There are countless parties and social events, many of which seem to revolve around alcohol. If you are new to sobriety, facing this holiday may feel especially difficult – but if you are prepared you can get through it and, most importantly, have fun!
Take a look at the below tips to help you tackle any potential hurdles over the festive period:
Don’t attend every event
When you get invited to events, you may feel like you need to say yes to every one to feel social. Remember to prioritise your well-being though and think about what the party is likely to be. If you suspect it will turn into an all-nighter fuelled by alcohol, it may be in your best interest to decline this year. There is no need to decline every invitation, but keep in mind that overcommitting yourself can lead to stress and this can be triggering in itself.
Think about your motives
Consider why you want to go to the party. Is it just to see friends and catch up? If so, think about whether or not you could do this in a different environment. Could you meet for lunch or a coffee some other time? If you can, it may be better to do this instead of walking into a situation you find stressful.
Take your own drinks
When you do attend parties, think about taking your own non-alcoholic drinks with you. There are usually some non-alcoholic options at Christmas parties, but they may not be to your taste. Make your own ‘mocktail’ or hunt down some non-alcoholic mulled wine. Other non-drinkers at the party will appreciate this too!
Plan your reason for not drinking
If you do not feel comfortable disclosing your alcoholism, have another reason to hand. Some people can be quite forward and want to know why you’re not drinking so having a reason in mind can avoid any awkwardness. You could keep it simple, say you don’t drink and leave it at that, or you could explain that you’re driving or even that you need to be up early.
Have an exit strategy
In early sobriety it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in situations where alcohol is a focus. It may be useful to have an exit strategy in place should things get too much. Keep a cab company’s phone number in your phone and tell the host you may have to duck out early. If you get overwhelmed, make your exit and apologise to the host in the morning. If they’re good friends they will understand.
Once you have got yourself centred on the idea that you won’t be drinking, try to relax and enjoy yourself. It can be easy to become stuck in your own head and feel consumed by thoughts. Try to focus on what is going on around you and stay in the moment.