If you’d have said to me 4 months ago that I would choose not to drink on Christmas Day I would have gone very still in fear, laughed nervously and said that this was some kind of a joke. Previous Christmas’ had been great excuses to make fast and loose with every and any kind of booze – bucks fizz for breakfast, red wine for dinner and Disaronno for tea. It was the one day of the year where it was obligatory, even compulsory and so I happily committed to the cause. You could have a ‘messy Xmas’ and no-one would bat an eye-lid and so I frequently did. Cue the morning after and the hangover from hell and the Boxing Day blues. I would drag my sorry hungover arse for a run, ever step punishment for the guilt and excesses of the day before, to get home and collapse in front of the telly with junk food and chocolate and maybe a ‘Bloody Mary’ to try to take the edge off.
This year the anticipatory anxiety started on Christmas Eve – around lunchtime as wolfie found his voice. I got more ansty at the idea of not drinking as he got more vocal in my ear. I had to have a long bath and go to bed early to escape myself. I woke up without a hangover – that joy never gets old ever 🙂 I had mustered my sober toolbox for the day; own booze free drinks to take with me – check; driving for fast escape if needed – check; permission to take time out to hide in the bathroom/with the dog/with the kids if it all gets too much – check; leave early if necessary – check; and log in to sober blogging community if really struggling – check. It wasn’t my sober tools I doubted it was me. Could I stay strong?
But you know what it was okay and I learned a new tool for the toolkit. When the first drinks were being poured I took myself off and played with the kids. For me this is always the most difficult bit – resisting that first drink and watching others tuck in. It is also the time that you may have to fend off questions as to why you aren’t drinking, so I avoided both by getting my San Pellegrino and effectively hid out with the non-grown ups! It worked though as once everyone else had got past the first glass they stop worrying about what you are drinking and my anxiety dissipates. I was asked if I wanted wine with my Xmas lunch to which I just said ‘I was good’ with what I had and that was that. When things got difficult I went and helped the host with the drying up or hung out watching tv with my kids. They were tired by 7.30pm so we had a ready made excuse to leave as everyone else was just warming up and things were starting to get messy. I had a lovely day and remember every single part of it.
I had a long bath when I got home as a reward and when I sat in bed last night the self-pride I felt was enormous. If you are looking for a way to give your self-confidence a shot in the arm then this is a winner as far as I’m concerned. I would go so far as to say that the glow of achievement I felt matched or exceeded that which I felt when I crossed the line of completing the London Marathon. And this morning I woke up without a hangover and went for a run with no feelings of punishment and no guilt. I’m not sure that this would have been possible without the knowledge that there were so many others I knew out here in the sober blogging community that were doing the same thing here with me in the UK but also in different time zones and parts of the world. Thank you all for the sober skills, for listening and supporting 🙂 Day 96.