Holiday Help

red rock clouds.jpg

A view of Red Rock Canyon with Winter Clouds rolling in

Not sure about you, but the holidays are a hard time for me and my sobriety.

I used to love the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s because it was a 6 week blitz of drinking.

Now that I’m sober, I love the holidays for different reasons.

I love spending time with family.

I love watching holiday movies.

I love cooking and baking.

I’ve been trying to replace old bad habits (ie. attending every party or event I possibly could so that I could drink for free) with new habits.

I’m more thoughtful about what parties I do rsvp to– I take full ownership of the introverted soul I found hiding underneath all the bourbon and beer when I got sober and allow myself holiday evenings where I stay home, attend yoga, or hike instead of going to big parties or bars.

I also have been working to find media that supports my choice of sobriety. There are some radio stories, podcasts, and songs that have been especially helpful to me the past few weeks so I thought I would share them with you here sober friends.

The first is a short segment from NPR’s Fresh Air from Sarah Hepola.

She’s the author of Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget and even though it’s a short audio segment, it’s helpful for me to hear someone else talk so openly about their issues with the holidays and alcohol.

The next is an episode of Recovery Elevator‘s podcast entitled 15 Ways to Stay Sober Over the Holidays.

I really love the way Paul Churchill is open, compassionate, and honest about sobriety and I appreciate the simple and concrete tips he gives to help you stay sober this time of year.

The one that struck me most was the idea of visualization. Taking the time before an event that may have triggers to visualize the way you will react and visualize yourself declining offers for alcohol.

The Home Podcast‘s episode titled Uncool, although not holiday centric, helped me mentally prepare and recover from for the social events I did need to attend this holiday season.

This holiday season I attended a wedding with friends who I used to drink heavily with. In a town where I used to do a lot of heavy drinking. And it was really fucking cold.

It was essentially all of my triggers together at once:

  • A large group event
  • In a town where I used to drink
  • With all of my friends that I used to drink with
  • Below -10 degrees windchill

Great. Great.

And it’s not that I didn’t want to go–I wanted to be at this wedding more than I’ve wanted to be anywhere else, the two people getting married are two of my best friends–but I knew going in it was going to be difficult for my sobriety.

Thank god for this episode of Home Podcast.

And honestly, my true friends love me for me and they actually do not care at all if I drink or not.  It’s only ME that has a problem with my image at the end of the day, so this episode discussing all the thoughts we have about being uncool by being sober really helped me get through.

Lastly, a song.

Noname‘s album Telephone is one of my top of this year.

And the song All I Need is one of my favorites.

Happy listening sober friends.