As Christmas festivities are now well underway, I’m sure many of us will recognise the experiences shared in this week’s blog post by Rachel Black, author of Sober is the New Black. As Rachel reflects on the heavier drinking of Christmases past, she paints a picture that may make some of us squirm with familiarity; making every party because it's a great excuse to drink to excess, or using the stresses of classic yuletide scenarios to reward yourself with a glass (or two or three…). Like Rachel I amazed myself with:
The planning that goes into knowing you will be pissed at parties (keys stashed, cards safe and no bag to get lost)
Encouraging visitors as an excuse to open another bottle
Being tired and hungover adding to the strains of decorating and shopping.
Tensions at family get-togethers worse for the booze sloshing around
Now onto her second alcohol-free Christmas, Rachel can actually enjoy the holidays with her children and family, without feeling obligated to constantly entertain or drink to excess to cope with seasonal stress.
Reading the comparison between Rachel’s past and present experiences is a great reminder that the decision to cut back or abstain completely from alcohol is entirely personal. Maybe what led Rachel to quit drinking was having to plan her holiday schedule around vicious hangovers, but maybe what’ll do it for you is the thought of eliminating all those cocktail calories. Whatever the reason, Christmas is the perfect time to reflect on how drinking has been affecting your life.
You could start planning Christmas 2015 now
Dry January (run by Alcohol Concern) makes an excellent case for taking a break to kick start better habits. After 31 alcohol-free days, their fundraisers found they slept better, lost weight and were more energetic. They have proof that:
More than three-quarters of them said they had noticeably saved money.
Six months later, 72% said they had had fewer harmful drinking episodes.
And most said that after a month off they found cutting down easier
Andy at Headspace (the meditation app) reckons mindfulness can help you visualise that future sober you (well it worked for journo Polly Vernon), using the following techniques:
Increase your awareness of the negative outcomes of drinking, whether it’s a hangover or feeling guilty.
Remind yourself that you have a choice to either act on or ignore the temptation to drink.
Remember that thinking of having a glass of wine doesn’t mean you have to have one.
So rather than topping up the champagne glass why not try a bit of positive future visualisation? Visualise the Christmas you hope to have next year and every Christmas after. If you want it to look different than years gone by, all it takes is that first step in the right direction.
Or plan to join in Dry January. Decide the change you want in your life and keep focused. You never know… this could be your driest, best Christmas yet!
p.s the next social is THIS WEDNESDAY in Islington (I know I shouted, but someone has to come and save me from the tasty flans, hot chocolate and cakes ...... join in here