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This time last year I was fully sauced.  Most days.  Well, most afternoons.  I lived for 4pm or the end of the workday – whichever came first.  I had convinced myself that it was OK to have a glass or two while cooking, then with my husband, then one with dinner and of course the wind-down glass to round things off.

I can clearly remember feeling like I was looking at myself and thinking – this has to stop!  But I swam through a booze haze all December until January 26.  We had just been to a lovely Australia Day Breakfast with some friends and as we had painting to do at home left around 11am only to hear later that the party had continued until well into the evening with the first of many bottles of bubbles popped just after we left.

It was then that I had this revelation that I couldn’t keep doing this.  I set myself a target of 10 April – coinciding with my neice’s wedding.  And the early days were great.  I was motivated, I felt empowered – I was on a mission!

Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.  There were days when I wanted a wine so badly I thought I would gnaw off my arm.  But sheer grit got me through.  By the time I reached 10 April, I had much better control of the urges and feeling so much better was what kept me going.

But coming up to my first Christmas without booze, the first December where I haven’t let myself have free reign on the liquor cabinet has been challenging.  Logically, I know I can do this.  But emotionally, it has been interesting and these warm, bright evening have triggered something!  So, here is my plan (and yours) to get through all the parties and gatherings.

  1. Order plenty of alcohol-free supplies so you have alternatives readily available when you need a little something, something. Make sure you keep a stash chilled, so you are hot to trot for any invite or people calling by.
  2. Get a bit fancy. Make or buy some garnishes – dehydrated citrus, sliced strawberries or cucumbers, mint, rosemary, lavender look great.
  3. Have a couple of Christmas mocktail recipes under your belt which are quick and easy to make. Take a look at these from the Mindful Mocktail and these from This Naked Mind.
  4. Some mindfulness practice every day will help strengthen your resolve and keep you on track. Try journaling, a gratitude practice or meditating.  All brilliant and quick.
  5. Be kind to yourself. A trip up doesn’t mean to have to totally take the fall.  Every time you hit the pillow sober is a win.  Give yourself a pat on the back.

 

This has been a year of self-awakening, learning, setting up a business and finding me again after years of being buried under booze.  It has been equal parts joyous and stressful and I am grateful for it all.  Being sober has meant I have felt all the feels and I have to face up everyday.  But as hard as that is sometimes, it is also the best gift I have ever given to myself.

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