Wow. Here we are already at Christmas!
The invites to work parties, neighbourhood gatherings, family get togethers, social catch ups and everything in between are flooding in and suddenly you’re wondering how the hell you’re going to manage your first Christmas without booze? And with that comes all the questioning from friends and family. ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’ or ‘Just have one’ or ‘Don’t be so boring – it’s Christmas’. Well - read on for all my top tips around socialising without booze this Christmas and still having a GREAT time!
I get it. I remember my first Christmas and how nervous I felt. Please know this. I’ve got you.
If you’ve made the decision to enjoy and experience your first alcohol free festive season, I applaud you. Because you’ve given yourself a gift. The gift of clarity and confidence! No hangovers, no regrets, no exhausted mornings lying around on the sofa and most importantly - no guilt! Yep, it’s all about what you are going to gain, rather than what you are ‘missing out’ on.
Why socialise sober this Christmas?
There is no other personal confidence boost like waking up fresh and loving yourself after a night out. You feel proud of your behaviour and you remember everything you said. Best of all, you bound out of bed with a full day to enjoy! No more sleeping in and battling ‘hangxiety’ all day long. I can’t tell you how many mornings I used to wake up with a pounding head, a heavy heart and that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach at what I’d said or done the night before. Particularly if it was a Christmas work party. Oh the shame!
I remember one year, living in London, we popped on the Eurostar and headed to Lille in France for our work Xmas party. We started drinking on the train at 10 am. I got home at 4 am. Yep – 18 hours of drinking.
The next 3 days were completely written off. And the ‘fear’ I felt at not remembering at least 6 hours of that event was all consuming. I gingerly text my closest colleague to ask her to fill in the blanks and cringed in horror as she told stories of me accosting strangers on the train home, dancing through Waterloo train station with evening commuters, sharing secrets that were not meant for work colleagues. I crawled back under the covers and wept at my lack of discipline, control and why did I always go too far, drink too much, overstep the invisible line of what was and wasn’t socially acceptable drinking behaviour.
This will be my third Sober Christmas and I can’t wait!
How To Socialise Sober This Christmas:
1. Play it forward.
This is a powerful tool to throw in your sober toolkit. Ask yourself ‘How will I feel tomorrow? How will I feel when I wake up?’ Just imagine yourself the next day. You’re either going to bounce out of bed with energy and joy (and pride). Or, you’re going to feel hungover, perhaps anxious and definitely exhausted. Just think ‘What does this look like tomorrow? How do I WANT to feel’?
2. Stock the fridge with alternatives.
Friends are coming over? Need something festive and bubbly to drink? Stock the fridge with AF drinks! We deliver all over Australia with some amazing alcohol free products to enjoy all the taste with none of the hangovers.
3. Socialise away from alcohol.
Let’s say you usually catch up with friends at this time of year at a bar… This year, plan to go for a bushwalk together. Plan a picnic in the park. Book a big table at your favourite café and meet for breakfast instead. You get to write the rules and work out what’s best for you.
4. Take a bottle with you.
If you’ve been invited to a friend’s place and you know the alcohol will be flowing, take your own bottle of AF sparkling (I highly recommend our Thomson & Scott Noughty, Sparkling Vinada and Plus and Minus blanc de blanc).
5. Remember, Christmas is just ONE day.
You can do it differently this year. Christmas will come and go. Just remember, it’ll pass and YOU are in charge of your Christmas experience this year. Imagine the joy of the kids waking you on Xmas morning and you NOT having a hangover! It’s an incredible feeling!
6. Have a sober buddy.
Having the support of a sober friend or partner is a game-changer. Stick together, keep each other accountable and be well supported. Don’t have a sober buddy? Stay connected in my Facebook community – the women’s wellbeing collective. Join here if you haven’t already: https://www.facebook.com/groups/342319476897067
7. Have an escape plan.
One of the best things about socialising sober is you can leave the event at any time! Have a plan and know you can drive home whenever you want to. YOU are the boss of YOU!
8. Have something planned for the next morning.
Lock in a walk or a run with a friend the next morning. Something physical you know you will need a clear head and plenty of energy for.
9. Focus on the health benefits.
Why not turn the holidays into a health challenge? Commit to your exercise routine, eat well, stay hydrated. There is NO better feeling than early morning exercise when you know others are lying in bed with a sore head!
10. Be truly present.
It’s all about the people you surround yourself with. Do more outdoor activities with your kids and partner. Take the focus away from ‘traditional celebrations’ and simply enjoy time with the ones you love.
What to say when people ask ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’
Your answer depends on how honest and intimate you’d like to be. It depends on who is asking, right? My response always depends on want mood I’m in, who is asking and whether or not I can be bothered the inevitable questions that follow if I tell someone I don’t drink. Here are some answers to have up your sleeve…
- ‘I don’t drink.’ Simple as that! And leave it there. Why DO we need to over-explain why we’re not drinking? Choose not to.
- ‘I’m not in the mood.’ This normalises the idea that you don’t need alcohol to have fun.
- ‘I have a < insert activity > in the morning.’ Having an early running date, a meeting or a family obligation gets you out of having to explain why you don’t need a boozy, late night.
- ‘I’m driving.’ There’s no disputing this one. If you’re the designated driver, there’s no drinking.
- ‘I’m taking a break from alcohol, just to see how I feel.’ This one is great because yes – drinking is a CHOICE.
- ‘Alcohol doesn’t agree with me these days.’ You don’t need to explain or go into detail here. It simply doesn’t agree with you – physically or mentally.
- ‘It triggers my anxiety.’ Truthful and without any room for dispute.
- ‘Not drinking is the better choice, for me.’ Evolved and confident. It also allows others to own their choices too, without judgement.
Why do we feel such pressure to drink in the holidays?
We are conditioned to think the festive season includes a glass of bubbles in hand. Big Alcohol would like us to believe Christmas isn’t complete without it. But it IS. A sober Christmas is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Remember that when socialising without alcohol in the early days, at times we feel clunky, awkward, a little uncomfortable. But remember it nearly always passes after the first 20 mins. And then we relax into it and everyone forgets we’re not drinking and more often the issue is in our own head more than anyone else’s!
Have a wonderful Christmas and do share this blog with anyone you know who might benefit from reading it this Xmas. And for those of you who would like to join my 2022 30-day Alcohol Free challenge that starts on the 9th Jan 2022 – read all about it here: https://sarahrusbatch.com/af-january