Tis the season to be jolly, right? Sometimes it’s not that simple!
Toward the end of my drinking days, the joy I had always felt around the holidays was no longer there. I opted not to go home to visit family on my last Christmas of drinking. My excuse was that it was too stressful, but the truth was that I just wanted to party. I told myself I was living a life of glitz and glam, but the reality was different.
That Christmas, my best friend and I went to a multiple-course dinner, and I remember none of it. I was blacked out. For New Year’s, I went to a fancy party in a red cocktail dress, intending to have only a couple of glasses of champagne. The last thing I remember is drinking straight ,from the bottle. That was my last drink. The glitter was there, but the joy was not!
On Jan. 2, 2010, I chose a life of recovery, and have regained the joy.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to enjoy myself again. I’ve spent time with family, gone out sober dancing, rang in the New Year with friends, and spent time alone. I’ve never opted for a bottle over the ones I love (including myself) again.
Today, the holiday season is joyful again – it’s a time of celebration. We do recover! And we do live big, beautiful lives. So this holiday season, find your joy again. I’m rooting for you!
Ways to stay safe and have sober fun
Sober support: Bring a sober friend with you to events. It helps you feel less alone and gives support in anxiety provoking moments.
Stay accountable: Don’t have a plus-one for an event or prefer to go by yourself? You can still have sober support! Use the “bookend” method. Call or text a person in recovery before you go into the event … and as you leave to keep you in check.
Mocktail it up: Just because you’re not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t order fun drinks! Mocktails are everywhere these days – almost any alcohol cocktail can be made without alcohol. So order one, or pop the sparkling juice or peppermint mocha!
Have an exit strategy: It’s OK to leave an event early. Make a plan on how you can politely leave and what you need – your car, a ride?
Find joy: What sparks your joy in the holiday season? Is it the twinkle lights, the movies, cooking? Make time to do something that brings your heart a twinkle.
Give back: Volunteer your time, pay it forward, give to a charity. My favorite holiday activity is to randomly give out gift cards to strangers.
Find gratitude: Focus on the good rather than difficulties. List your favorite things about the holidays and share them with a friend.