My First Alcohol Free Christmas
01 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
It's almost Christmas!
I had my last ever drink on 7th September 2016. A date I will always remember, and celebrate passing every year. But this meant I had only three months of non-drinking under my belt by the time Christmas came around. As anyone who has stopped drinking before knows, three months is barely anything. Certainly not enough to learn to rethink all the brainwashing we have coming at us constantly from TV and elsewhere regarding the fun we will have once we have a drink in our hands. I’d got to three months before and that was where it ended.
I approached Christmas with trepidation. It certainly overshadowed things for my whole family that year. Things we would normally do couldn’t be done, like the work Christmas party which was always a good excuse for me to have a few. Even family gatherings had a different feel, as more often than not, they all involved us having a ‘nice’ few drinks to relax and enjoy ourselves. Our family often travels a fair distance to see one another (several hundred miles) so once there it was often seen a reward to have a drink after the long journey. It was easier to avoid it all.
At home though it was no different and my husband and I would often have several glasses of wine or beers throughout the afternoon and evening. It was an excuse to drink earlier, to be allowed to and to enjoy it. I couldn’t see how Christmas would be the same without it. That makes me feel quite sad now, but I think the belief that alcohol is so needed and used as a reward by society makes it very difficult to imagine life without it when you have got yourself caught up in a situation like mine.
On Christmas Day itself we had a quiet family day, just my husband and I and the kids. It was lovely, except during Christmas dinner, when I had a bit of a meltdown. I was so angry! I was angry with myself for wanting a drink, angry that I couldn’t have one, angry that I didn’t want to give in and let myself have one, angry that it was so ingrained that I should have one. It was so confusing. But I got through it with the support of my husband and I didn’t give in. I would have been so cross with myself if I had done.
I didn’t want to make a huge deal of my non-drinking, but I told my closest family, because I wanted them to understand. The majority of my friends and family will still only now find out if they read my blog. It isn’t something I’ve advertised. That comes back down to the feelings of shame I had about the whole situation. I felt like I’d let myself and my family down. But now, in hindsight I am proud. I gave up something I relied on and now days go by without me giving it a second thought. I didn’t ever think that would happen. I wasn’t sure how it could.
So I guess my message is to stick with it. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, sometimes it will be harder, and sometimes it will be easier. We have to fight the message that society portrays, that alcohol is the answer to everything, because certainly in my case, it is the complete opposite.
Thanks as always for taking the time to read this, and let me know how you’re finding the run up to Christmas this year.