Holiday Sobriety and Sanity Savers

(This was originally posted November 2013, but I am making it a sticky post (sticking it at the top of the blog) for the ’15 holiday season. I hope it helps someone. I wish you all happy and healthy holidays. -ros)

I was standing in a deserted church parking, freezing my ass off, wailing like a crazy woman, a couple of days after Christmas in 2010. Oh yeah, I was also talking on the phone to my ex-boyfriend from eighteen years ago (hey, his phone number was on Facebook), and oh yeah, I was drunk. Not just drunk, but “sobbing, snotty, hyperventilating, drunk-dial-your-ex-from-high-school” drunk. I knew I needed help though, which is what had led me to the church parking lot to begin with–I was trying to go to a recovery meeting (my first), except it had been canceled–and it’s also what led me to call someone else to say, “please help me.”

"Country Church" by Mark Duffy via FineArtAmerica
“Country Church” by Mark Duffy via FineArtAmerica

I’m not even sure what else I said. But you know what? He listened, and I felt better afterward. I didn’t do anything stupid that night (much), and the next day, the world spun on and life continued.

In a way, it was my first recovery meeting.

I needed help, I didn’t know where to get it, and talking to him for ten freezing minutes in a parking lot may have saved my life.

So why am I telling you this? I’m supposed to be taking a break, I’m supposed to be on hiatus, right? Well, I am, but… Bloody hell the holidays are stressful. For everyone! You don’t have to be an addict or alcoholic or co-dependent to feel the stress and anxiety–just human. And if even just one of you needs to read this, then I need to write it. 

Here’s what follows:

  • General crisis support options and resources
  • My specific sobriety-saving ideas from this year and last
  • Links to UnPickled and Mr. Sponsorpants’s “Holiday Survival Guides”

Crisis control and support options:

First, if you need to talk to someone, about anything, and you don’t know who to call (and you don’t have your ex’s phone number), write one or both of these numbers down or program them in your phone:

1-800-273-TALK (8255) — it can be about ANYTHING. If you are stressed out and in a meltdown or crisis, call them 24/7. It’s Lifeline’s crisis hotline open to anyone.

1-800-662-HELP (4357) — this is more about Substance Abuse & Mental Health crisis, but if you’re in mini-meltdown, I’d say that qualifies as mental health, wouldn’t you? It is the number to SAMHSA’s National Helpline.

If you are outside of the US, you can look up a phone number here.

If you’d rather chat on-line, Lifeline offers instant chat from 2 pm – 2 am eastern. Learn more here–don’t worry, I promise it won’t open a chat window, it’s just the information page. Bookmark it.

***

A few ideas to help you stay sober:

Holidays can be stressful. Stress can be triggering for alcoholics and addicts. Therefore, holidays can be triggering for us addicts. Right? Well, DUH. (My philosophy and logic professors would be so proud of me.) This time of year can get to anyone. It doesn’t take a college professor to know that the holidays can make Mother Theresa herself want to go postal or get smashed on spiked eggnog. It might be human nature, but it ain’t rocket science.

So how do we survive with our sobriety in tact? We do whatever we have to do. Blogger October0Nine and I wrote about this last year in our shared post “Sobriety During the Holidays.” But since then, I’ve come up with five more ideas that I haven’t seen anywhere else:

  • If it’s a choice between pumpkin pie / cookies / candy / stuffing / cheese balls / Schweddy Balls / gingerbread cake / the entire gingerbread cake / an entire bag of jelly beans (the huge bag, not the tiny Jelly Belly bags) / an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s / two entire pints of Ben & Jerry’s / three entire (well, you know), _______ (insert ANYTHING here) . . . or drinking, choose the first option. ALWAYS, EVERY TIME. DRINKING IS NOT AN OPTION. Eat the sugar, it’ll be okay.
  • Don’t keep alcohol in your house, if at all possible. (Yes, I know spouses and partners and roommates may make this difficult.) But if you host a holiday party or dinner and you buy a couple of bottles of wine or a case of beer for your guests, send it home with them. Or–ugh, I can’t even believe I’m going to say this–pour the left-over wine down the kitchen sink. If you don’t have it in the house, you can’t drink it.
  • There is no such thing as “this is a special occasion so I guess I can have just one drink” for an alcoholic. Go eat a cookie instead. Every day of your sobriety is a special occasion, don’t reset your sobriety-counter back to zero just because you think you can handle one or two. If you could handle one or two drinks, you wouldn’t have quit drinking in the first place.
  • At holiday dinners I know you don’t want to feel awkward or different, and I know those wine glasses are so pretty, but please don’t drink out of one. This way you won’t accidentally pick up someone else’s glass of wine or vice versa, the hostess won’t top off your glass of grape juice with Merlot, an over-zealous waiter won’t keep asking you, “white or red?” Chances are you would be fine, but why leave it up to chance?
  • You don’t have to be sobriety’s golden child or poster boy. You don’t have to defend your sobriety, or anybody else’s for that matter. You don’t even have to say you’re sober, you can say, “No thanks, I’m not drinking tonight.” You don’t have to speak up if someone makes a tasteless joke about addiction–which, hey, Rob Ford, it could happen–or about drinking too much. This goes against much of what I write day-to-day (be the change; silence is deadly; if nothing changes, nothing changes; etc. . .) but that’s okay. Your mission is to stay sober. That’s all. Not to be nice, not to eat like a rabbit, not to be the smiling hostess, not to be a golden child. JUST TO STAY SOBER.

***

From October O Nine and RoS:

Sobriety During the Holidays (a Shared Post With “October O Nine”) via RunningOnSober:

Mark Twain (or The Bible or Abe Lincoln or somebody) once said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

I change this around during trigger situations when I need a time-out to: “It is better to be thought rude and sober than to be undoubtedly rude and drunk.” My sobriety has to come first. It’s not rude. It’s not selfish. It is life-saving. If I do not put my sobriety first, then nothing at all can come second. . . .

(Some helpful hints:) Have an exit strategy; bring your own car if possible, don’t be dependent on another if you need to extract yourself from a stressful situation. Bring your own fancy non-alcoholic beverage. The bathroom makes an excellent escape room! Have at least one person who knows that you are not drinking; give them a nod or a look if you are “having a moment.” . . .

(From October O Nine:) If this is your first sober Thanksgiving, protect your sobriety. Remember it is better to understand than to be understood. People don’t understand why you are not drinking? F `em. Don’t feel the need to explain yourself; don’t feel the obsession to be understood.

From UnPickled

Survival Strategies for Holidays and Vacations, via UnPickled (Seven outstanding suggestions for keeping your sobriety in tact over the holidays; She always has excellent comments too, so check them out and add your own ideas):

Practice Some Lines – This sounds super corny but it is helpful: write out some ways to say “no thanks, I’m not drinking” and practice them before the event. Generally, as long as you have a glass in your hand no one will care what is in it. Still, there’s always someone who just insists on getting you something in which case you can say, “Ohhhh, I’ll have some of that delicious-looking San Pelligrino that someone [YOU] brought. Yum! Thank you!!”. If you are really pressed, just accept the drink offered and quietly set it aside and calmy WALK THE EFF AWAY. If this leaves you overly shaky, refer to items 6, 3, or 2.

From Mr. Sponsorpants

Mr. SponsorPants 6th Annual Holiday Survival Guide, via Mr. Sponsorpants (I first read Mr. SP’s “Survival Guide” facing my first sober Thanksgiving and holiday season–and I didn’t drink. I read it the next year before my second sober Thanksgiving–and I didn’t drink. I’m reading–and sharing!–this year before my third sober Thanksgiving, and I don’t have any plans to drink. I’m not superstitious (much) but, hey, read it–follow it–and maybe it can work for you too. Some of it is 12-Step based, but don’t let that detract you from reading.

Here are a couple of my favorites from his guide of eighteen:

#8 – Remember, “Please pass the gravy” is not code for “Please, now that you’re sober, unload all of your pent up anger and frustration you’ve been stuffing for the past X years, right here right now, during dinner.” . . .

#12 – Remember, you may not have been such a winner yourself on past occasions — it may take a while for people to “see” who you are today. Be patient, show who you are now rather than tell who you are now, and things will eventually change.

I also love #1, #6, #10, and #13.

***

If you have holiday survival tips, or know of other survival-type guides, please feel free to share or self-promote in the comments.


85 thoughts on “Holiday Sobriety and Sanity Savers

  1. I bought the book. 🙂 I still sort of wonder how I managed to quit drinking and smoking smack dab in the middle of the holidays. It was the perfect time- I couldn’t face another hungover christmas, another liar’s new years eve. Thank you for all the tips. And the pictures of your family. 🙂 They are lovely.

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    1. Hey Amy! It’s sooo good to hear from you. I was thrilled to read all of your exciting news, man what a whirlwind you’ve been spinning in lately, huh? Remember to breathe and take care of you first–stress can’t tell the difference between good stress or bad stress–so guard that sobriety, girl! Knocking on one year… Yay!!!

      And yep, the holidays are a tough time to quit (I guess any time is tough to quit), but when it’s time, it’s time. Like you said, we just reach that breaking point when we’re fed up and we’re ready to move on.

      So happy to be sober with you!
      Christy

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    1. You are so welcome, I hope they help you and/or your loved ones.

      Would you like a copy of Mr. SP’s book to read over the holidays? I’d love to pay his help forward.

      Just let me know and I’ll email you an Amazon code. 🙂

      ((I was so happy she was a girl! After Baby Donkey ended up a boy, I had to put the Grace name on hold. I guess this little girl already had dibs on the name, lol. She is so precious!))

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  2. Your generosity is inspiring, Christy. The fact that you’re sharing so much in terms of support to others who might be struggling at this time really says so much about who you are. Don’t forget that.

    Gracie…DAWWWWW!!!

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    1. You’re awesome, Gus, thank you. If it would help, I would give everyone my ex-boyfriend’s phone number, but somehow I think that might be pushing it a little. Can’t take away anyone’s struggles, but doesn’t mean anyone has to struggle alone, right?

      Step away from WordPress … Step back to your Nanu Nanu Novel. 😉 Hope you and the fam are well, C-

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  3. Awwwwww!! Baby Gracie!!!!!!!

    These are all great suggestions, Christy! Not drinking out of wine glasses, I think, is a biggy. I get more stressed out with a wine glass, any glass really, in front of me than I do without one. I always remove any glasses from my seat and switch them out for a can of soda or cup of coffee. I just find it’s safer overall that way.

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    1. Great point, CK, it could happen with any glass. Also, for everyone, be careful if you order a “virgin” drink when you’re out at dinner … a lot of times the waitstaff or the bartenders get slammed and may not write or read your order the correct way and your virgin daiquiri comes fully loaded. Then you get your drink, take a big sip, and then you’re in trouble. I’ve heard (and read) about this happening more than a few times.

      I don’t remember which book it was, Sasha’s Unwasted maybe?, but someone even got in an argument with the server over whether her drink was served correctly (she swore her coke had Jack in it, server swore it didn’t, so she had the server taste her drink, and yep, sure enough, it had Jack in it.)

      I actually prefer the drinks that you can screw the cap back on to keep fresh (and clean, yes paranoid, I know, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me though)– like the small bottles of Perrier, or Orangina, or sodas, or I think they’re called Sparkling Ice (tall skinny calorie free flavored water type of drinks—they’re delicious). This is where bringing your own drinks can come in handy. And coffee … yes, coffee is goooooooood. 🙂

      PS–I just saw Baby Gracie running and jumping around in the back field. She’s strong, healthy, and just like Baby Donkey, having a great time testing out her legs. Awwwwww!

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  4. I quit drinking May, 2012. It’s hard to believe that 1.5 years has passed. Sometimes I miss it and THEN I remember the stupid decisions followed by consequences.

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    1. Huge congrats on your sobriety! I too quit for good in May — 2011. Some days it feels like yesterday, others I’m like, OVER 30 MONTHS? Really?

      And, yep, sometimes only regrets and fear of negative consequences keep me sober. But, you know, that’s okay — As long as we don’t drink. As much as those stupid decisions make me cringe, they serve their purpose too now.

      I appreciate the comment, thank you! ~ Christy

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  5. Playing catch up on reading my favorite bloggers (YOU!). This is an important post, Christy, so, thank you. Holidays are stressful largely because of all the stupid fucking expectations that come with them. I blame the media.

    Thanks for the link to Mr. SponsorPants. I’m going to get his book for my brother (who is doing his 60 days, by the way).

    Has anyone told you what a treasure you are? Because, seriously, you are.

    And Gracie? OMG. Look at that girl standing up like that, and her so new to this world. THAT is life affirming.

    xox

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    1. Maryyyyyy! Hello my love! It’s nice too see you pop in from your hiatus and “house-cleaning” too — it seems a lot of us are going into mini-hibernation mode. Oh, yeah, the media, and SOCIAL media too … Facebook and everyone posting how spectacular their lives are, conveniently leaving out the stress and debt and church-parking-lot-meltdowns. Oh and Pinterest too which now reminds us all the foods we aren’t making and crafts and decorations we’re missing out on and tv with the beer commercials that say the only way you can have a good time or be attractive is to have a Low-Carb beer in your hand. Sigh. No wonder so many of us are teetering on that edge.

      Gracie is a little angel. Less than 24 hours old and walking right up to me. LOL, did you see the end of that video where she’s coming toward me? I had to jump up, because the little bull we have, (Bully) that I was petting in one of the past videos, was coming right at me to “nudge” me to get his head scratched — except he’s getting so big that his little nudges will knock you on your butt if you’re not careful, LOL. I saw Gracie running and jumping around this afternoon and testing out her legs. So strong and healthy and happy. Life affirming, indeed!

      ((Huge, huge, HUGE congrats to your brother. 60 days is a big deal. Those first 90 days were tougher for me than my entire last two years. Thanks for gifting him the book. You’re an awesome sister. And an awesome friend. Grateful for you! xoxo))

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      1. Oh, somehow I missed your reply until just now. . . .

        I stay away from Pinterest. I don’t need one more thing to make me feel inadequate. I don’t have the time for crafts or whipping up humongous meals, and holidays are so small for lack of family and friends in my area. It’s just my husband, our son and myself.

        Actually, the 60 days my brother is doing is jail time for the DWI. He gets out Dec. 27th. The good news is that he’s been sober since June!! I’ve talked to him since he’s been in jail and he’s doing well, determined, and sounding full of new purpose, so that is awesome.

        Thank YOU for recommending the Soberpants book, for your always beautiful, inspiring words, and for your friendship. I have a lot to give thanks for this year!!

        xox

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        1. Ah, okay, that 60 days makes a lot more sense now. I thought he was a few months sober, but didn’t know if I missed something. Didn’t realize he was into that 60. But how awesome that it will be behind him before the new year. Please pass along my regards next time y’all talk, and tell him to keep his head high.

          Happy day to you, my friend. xoxo

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  6. Some UK numbers

    AA 0845 769 7555 – normally you’ll be directed to a “local” helpline and talk directly to a member of AA – no professional helpline – just someone who has managed to get a daily recovery from alcohol

    National NA number 0300 999 1212

    the national drink helpline – Drinkline: 0800 917 8282 –
    Information and self-help materials
    Help to callers worried about their own drinking
    Support to the family and friends of people who are drinking
    Advice to callers on where to go for help

    Samaritans – anyone in need of help can call them 24×7 – 08457 90 90 90

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  7. My only advice is to be open with those about you – not necessarily everybody!! but make sure you are with people you trust and who know your situation, the ones who’ll step in when the host is like “Surely you can have just one wine.” Those who you can look in the eye when asked what you want to drink to remind you to say “Just a coke” – hey why after 9 years do I still find it necessary to qualify my order with the “Just a…” as though it is clearly less than an alcoholic drink.

    Anyway… enough waffle – stick close with people who know, who you trust and who’ll be there to support you. It can be done – I’ve done so it must be doable by anyone

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    1. Fantastic advice, Graham, thank you. So important to have at least one or two friends “have your back” and know what’s going on — it’s just so reassuring to know you don’t have to deal all by yourself when there are others who would love to help you. I remember going to Las Vegas with a girlfriend (she knew I was sober) and boy, she was like a Guardian Sobriety-Protecting Bulldog, “You’re not drinking on my watch! You’re not giving back all of those little chippies, no matter what!” Haha! And it was a GREAT trip, because I didn’t have to worry about drinking because she had my back, and I knew she would kill me if I even looked at a ‘drink’ drink.

      “Just a …” You’re right, I do that too, and never really thought about it. Why is that?

      Enlist a Sobriety Bulldog friend to watch your back, everyone, you’ll feel much safer and more relaxed over the holidays.

      Thanks for the tip and comment (and those numbers), Graham! – christy

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      1. Although the post has a nice mix of ingredients, the scene outside the church is pure class Christy. I can just picture a deadly serious black comedy based on it.
        I think there must be a lot of people who can relate to you calling someone for help. There are probably a lot of people who want to call someone, but do not know who.

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        1. Pure class, I KNOW, right? Hahaha! I’m not sure what was classier: all the snot and mascara running down my face while I scrolled through Facebook phone numbers , or when I called my ex — and his wife answered — and it didn’t deter me a bit. I’m sure they still laugh about that — “remember when that crazy drunk girl called you?” (Or maybe not? Maybe my ego is making it out to be a much bigger deal to them than it was?) Like so many things in my life, I might be embarrassed by it if it wasn’t so funny in retrospect.

          (Though I think it’s funny BECAUSE it’s in retrospect. At the time I was actually quite mortified. I guess that’s a good message for everyone–that first year, especially, everything feels so horrific, but just wait… all those jagged edges smooth out and you can look back and actually laugh at some of that stuff. May as well, cause you can’t change it.)

          Thanks for the smile, Ronnie. 🙂 – c

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          1. You did not mention earlier on about him having a wife, or that it was her who answered the phone – that makes it even better.
            I’ll get the scriptwriters to start on it tomorrow. I think for added drama, because of your phone call, they have a massive row and split up. He ends up on the street as a down and out drunk, and you become Miss USA. Now we’re talking Karma.

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  8. Great post, Christy, it’s kind of you to come out of “hiatus” to remind all of us (and tell those who are new) about the stress of the holiday season, and its impact on sobriety.

    I think that the most important thing I remember, on a day to day basis, is that my first priority is not taking a drink/ingesting a mind-altering substance. That’s really it. If I’ve managed to achieve that by the end of the day, it’s been a fantastic day. Everything else takes second place to my first goal: staying sober.

    So when it comes to holidays, by keeping the focus on staying sober, I manage to take the focus off all of those other stress-producing holiday issues. Pie didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked? Oh well, I am sober. In-law’s driving me up a wall? Well, I need to stay sober, so I will minimize my contact with them. People around me drinking and it’s starting to frazzle my nerves? Time to go!

    And when I get to bed that night, and I have met my one goal for the day, I can sleep, without nausea, without knowing I will be up, sweating and remorseful, in a couple of hours, and without a hangover the following morning. And I know it’s been a fantastic day.

    Congratulations to Gracie’s family!

    Josie

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    1. Oh, Josie, I LOVE this comment. You could make this a stand-alone post!

      Some of my favorite words of all time:

      “Oh well, at least I’m sober!”

      Ain’t THAT the truth?! No matter what in the world has transpired, if I didn’t drink over it, then it was a fantastic day. (Well, okay, maybe not fantastic… I know some days just suck. But if I drink, they’ll suck more and I’ll have a hangover.)

      “My first priority is not taking a drink/ingesting a mind-altering substance. That’s really it.” <— Even this could be a stand-alone post.

      Thank you SO MUCH, Josie!
      xox, Christy

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  9. Eat the sugar, it’ll be OK. I can’t stop laughing!!! Great post and I love Mr. SponsorPants, too!

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    1. Hey Running! Good to see you stop in from your hiatus too. (Yep, I’m still mostly reading everyone, even if I haven’t had time to comment.)

      There, there… ((Pats you on the head)) eat the sugar…. Lol. Someone told me that once when I was freaked by all the jelly beans I was inhaling. “Eat the jelly beans.” became sort-of my mantra.

      Hey, please let me gift you MrSP’s book! Everyone is being so shy.

      (Y’ALL ARE MAKING IT HARD FOR ME TO PAY IT FORWARD, DAMMIT!)

      Lol. Shhhh, I was even going to go to 10 if needed, so folks don’t feel like you’re taking someone else’s chance. If you’re new and want a copy, we’ll make sure you get a copy. Speak up and let me do something nice before I break open a pint (of ice cream).

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  10. This post is tremendous. being in my first three weeks into sobriety and having the first Thanksgiving/Christmas/NYE combo lurking in the shadows, I found the timing fabulous. Thank you for sharing; I have had to read, reread and will reread this as the info keeps jumping at out me in different ways. Bless you and keep sharing; it’s helping a newbie in more ways than you know !

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    1. Oooh week 3, huh? Hang on, your emotions will take you in a rollercoaster ride. But just like all rollercoaster rides, they smooth out and eventually come to an end. And really, what is life but one hell of a rollercoaster ride?

      You got through the sticky physical weeks, you can get through the emotional weeks too. Just take it day by day and remember to eat the cookies.

      Lots of great support on the blogs, keep reading and writing (I’ll check your blog soon). Everyone is helpful and friendly around here, so click around, comment, all that jazz–you’re not alone.

      I’d love to send you some holiday reading–I’ll email you an Amazon code later today. 🙂

      Proud of you!
      Christy

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      1. Christy-
        If you haven’t been told before, I’ll tell you now: YOU ARE A GODSEND! I was getting irritable late yesterday afternoon. I checked my email and lo and behold, I came across yours. Thank you from the bottom of my sober heart; you really are a gem.
        I’m baking cookies tonight, btw. Rather than stopping for liquor, I am stopping to get cookie dough. 🙂

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        1. In major crisis: eat the cookie dough.

          I noticed that Pillsbury is polite and asks, “please don’t eat raw cookie dough” whereas Tollhouse was much more in my face, “DON’T CONSUME RAW DOUGH!” I saw that and thought, “Screw you Tollhouse, you’re not the boss of me!” Why do they still put it in ice cream if you can’t eat it? As if.

          Glad my message came through when needed. 🙂 I love good timing stories like that. I hope your cookies were delicious!

          Thanks for the sweet message, and you are so welcome,
          Christy

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  11. I stumbled across your blog last night and am thankful I did. Nine days ago, I had 32 days sober under my belt. For whatever insane reason, I thought I would be able to drink, just one or two and be okay (it was a special occasion and I could not imagine NOT drinking…stupid stupid stupid). Today will be my new sobriety day, 11/25/13.
    Thank you for the helpful tips, I am sure I will be re-reading them…probably while eating sugar 🙂
    And Gracie is beautiful!!

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    1. 11/25/13 has a really nice ring to it. Sounds like a perfect day to me!

      That 30 day timeframe was tough for me too. I slipped and restarted a couple of times too. Some people don’t, but it takes most of us a couple times because we’re stubborn and we really do believe we can control it. But it clicked for me eventually, and it will for you too. It takes what it takes, they say.

      “Thank goodness for cookies” is what * I * say, and running. They saved my butt often, and still do. So does reading–and I will email you a little amazon code by Wednesday for some holiday reading.

      Drop by anytime and read some archives or click on some other blogs. Everyone is friendly and supportive.

      So glad you found me, Happy 11/25!
      Christy

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  12. The reasons you gave for not drinking out of a wineglass are the most compelling I’ve heard. I’d heard it can trigger cravings, but how terrible (and possible) it would be to accidentally drink in the confusion of holiday pouring and mixups. Of course I wholeheartedly support self-medicating urges to drink with cookies. I am heading into sober thanksgiving #3 and even though I don’t worry anymore, this is a post I will keep nearby. Thanks for passing along so many great tips and for sharing the joy of Gracie!

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    1. I’ve got to think there’s some muscle memory or psychological aspect to the feel of a wine glass resting in your palm between your fingers. Even some of the fancy water glasses have that same “feel” and I still get quick little flashbacks of drinking. The same way some ex-smokers will hold a pen in their hand, like a cigarette and have a random pang for a smoke.

      Those pangs I think would be tough at any time of the year (but especially holidays)–which is why, yeah, I do shudder when I read some of the blogs of folks saying they’re going to treat themselves and drink their fancy San Pelligrino (?) out of their fancy stemware even at home alone in front of the tv. Why? If it’s only going to remind you of the past? You don’t live in that past anymore. I’ve managed to keep mum about my opinions on that until now, but seriously, I think it’s perilous ground at any time of the year, especially holidays, and especially for folks with under a year, maybe two, hell, maybe even more. Just not worth it if one can help it.

      Sober Thanksgiving #3 feels a lot calmer this year. #1 I was just a bundle of nerves and energy; #2 I was withdrawn and introverted and happy that I didn’t have to be “on” or “nice” — all I had to be was “sober.” #3 feels just like another day. And I think that’s progress. 🙂

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  13. 🙂 …. still eating cookies.
    And now with the menopause I’ve noticed that chocolate is on the rise.
    Oh well, still sober and and having sober holidays #10 yay.
    Great, great, list xox

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    1. Thanks for taking a respite from your hiatus to post this! Have a happy Thanksgiving and THANK YOU for doing what you do.
      Dennis

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      1. A wonderfully pleasant surprise to hear from you, Dennis, thank you so much for the comment. There’s so much to be grateful for (sobriety and cookies included), so I’m sure I’ll have a very special Thanksgiving. I wish you and your family the same.

        I appreciate your loyalty and your very kind comment,
        Christy

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    2. “Oh well, still sober.” YES!

      Have you worked cookies back in? That actually makes me happy! I know how much you and I love our cookies. I’ve been hit with some chocolate cravings lately too, especially when stress or hormones kick in. I had a bunch of mini Twix bars that I kept in the freezer hidden behind other stuff in case I ever had a chocolate emergency, they really came in handy. If they’re frozen you also have to be more mindful of eating them, so that you don’t break a tooth, haha.

      #10, nice! YOU are a perfect 10, my friend. Love you lots! -c

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Sherry, and for the kickass intro you wrote!

      Don’t miss me too much though, I tend to come back more honest, raw, and energetic after I “refuel the tank” so to say. I’m not as freaked by the spammers or my photo being up as I was, and I was pretty raw here (“he was a shit”? really Christy, LOL) so the little break is helping already 🙂

      Folks, this is why I love Sherry (her blog is in my sidebar, or just click on the link below) from “Oh for the love of me.” If you have not yet met her, she’s good people, and a straight-shooter, and funny too!, so drop by and say hi for me:

      http://ohfortheloveofme.blogspot.com/2013/11/sober-holidays-survival-guide.html

      “Look people, no shit this is going to be tough. It’s going to suck ass. But with help from brilliant people like Christy, you can do this.

      And please, smile, laugh and at least try to enjoy yourselves. Remember that you are a fucking sober superhero and you deserve CHOCOLATE IN MASSIVE QUANTITIES!!!”

      YEAH! ^^^ WHAT SHERRY SAID!

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    1. You got it, my friend! Thanks for letting me do something nice for you 🙂

      Hope it’s not too awkward for you this holiday season. Have a couple self-soothing tricks up your sleeves (cookies, deep breathing, a favorite song saved on your phone that calms you down, a list of “Top 10 Reasons I’m Glad I’m Not Drunk” you can whip out to read, etc…) and have a friend you can text or call. Or… take a breather and read 🙂 –the code is on the way momentarily!

      Gracie is super adorbs today. She was wet and muddy and running around like a crazy thing kicking up mud all over the place in the back field today. Oh, to have that energy! Huge congrats on six months and counting—so much to be thankful for this season!

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  14. Hi Christy! Thanks for coming out of the hiatus to post, I miss you my friend… but I am sure bigger and better things are in store for you. AND this post is absolutely awesome and full of wonderful information. AND yes baby Gracie is just adorable!

    I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and I am sending many hugs your way!

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    1. Hi Maggie, I miss you too, but I’ll be back. I’ve had fun getting Words up and going with Jennie. And I’m playing with some creative writing things and focusing on the holidays, so it’s been a nice break so far. I hope you and your family have a happy holiday season! (Thanks again for the Words award!) Lots of love, Christy.

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  15. I love this post and very helpful. I am 3 weeks Sober today. I have been sober before during the holidays in past sober attempts and it’s not easy… A fire in the fire place and Christmas music makes me want to pop the cork! Luckily lots of other currently dry folks in the family we spend time with 🙂 Crazy how different these gatherings are than 10 yrs ago.
    Load of deserts on hand, sober pen pals (Amy, Sherry and Belle!) and practicing my no thanks lines! I AM doing this. I will not drink. I will not ruin my sober days for any party or event.
    I would love one of those books!

    Jenny

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    1. Hi Jenny, Congrats on three weeks and a day! You’re doing great. A lot of what helped me through holidays was just shifting my attitude–if you go into something EXPECTING it to be tough and triggering, well, you know what? It probably will be. If you go in thinking, calm, cool, collected; you have your lines rehearsed; you have your Top 3 reasons for not drinking written on your arms in black magic marker (just kidding, use the washable paint stuff.) It should be much smoother for you.
      Plus, it sounds like you’ve got great resources in your corner–Amy, Sherry and Belle all are awesome. I presume you are doing the 100 day challenge? If so, well then drinking is not an option, at all. You took that oath right? “I will not drink for 100 days NO MATTER WHAT.” And so you won’t drink. I’m not worried, you shouldn’t be either. 🙂
      I’ll email you later on today. Thanks so much for the comment!
      Christy

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  16. Thanks Christy this is great. I’ve been following you a long time! I feel real positive going into this holiday season sober the first time! The mix up wine glass almost happened to me early on… I picked one up talking thinking it was my fruit & mineral water and when I smelled it I said like OMG this is not mine…. My friends just giggled, if they knew! I so forgot how much I live cookie dough… Toll house is the bomb! I’m buying some tonight ha ha! I would love the amazon code too! Thanks again! Love Gracie! U have a farm? We had cows (steer) growing up do cute like puppies!

    Thanks! Momma Bee

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    1. Hey Momma Bee, yes, I remember seeing your beautiful stargazer lily picture in a comment a while back, it’s nice to see you again!

      Oh goodness, girl, that was a close call with the wine glass mix-up. Have you tried those Sparkling Ice drinks yet? It’s just mineral water and fruit flavoring, zero calories, and a nice tall bottle with a cap you can screw on and off. If you read my comments above to CK Hope and to ByeByeBeer, you know I’m not a big fan of drinking out of wine glasses — not just because of mix-ups, but because they’re so symbolic of the past … and we don’t live in the past anymore. So just be careful, promise? 🙂

      And cookie dough … yummmm. Sometimes you just can’t wait.

      We have a small ranch, and yes, the cow babies are SOOOOO cute. It’s amazing how they are up and running and ready to take on the world — all less than 24 hours old. They all have their own personalities, that’s for sure.

      I’ll get a code to you! I hope you enjoy the read, I’ve laughed out loud several times already.
      Love, Christy

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      1. Thanks Christy~ Yes, those mineral waters and fancy sodas are my new fav, who knew? I agree w/ you about the wine glass now and my sparkling water had fruit in it too so I would know, but it was so close. Thank goodness wine smells bad, lol. I love to laugh out loud, please do send, no rush! Ranch so wonderful, enjoy! Love the pics/videos! Have a wonderful holiday!

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        1. I have a few other “zoo” pics and videos that I posted too:

          Here is when I got the donkeys

          Here is when we had Baby Donkey (and some cow pix)

          Enjoy! Let me know how you like the book 🙂 You enjoy your holidays too, Momma Bee!

          PS–Wine smells bad? Huh? Since when? Maybe I should start telling myself that…. LOL 😀

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  17. Cookies and writing, your writing is helping not only others, but you, I imagine. You are a truly kind soul and your offering here will multiply rewards beyond what you can see. Wishing you joy! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Joan, it’s wonderful to hear from you. No doubt writing helps me too, it’s been so therapeutic and an excellent tool to strengthen my sobriety. The side benefit has been meeting so many people as a result of opening up.

      And cookies, well, cookies just make me happy. 🙂

      Love to you. Happy holidays!

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  18. AMEN! I love the way you put it that- “It is not your job to defend your sobriety…your mission is to stay sober, not to be nice…golden child….just stay sober”. I will be keeping this in mind every day. I am just beginning but already feeling the need to constantly defend myself. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Eggs (what a cool name!), thanks so much for the comment. Huge congrats to you on beginning your sobriety. It’s the best gift you can ever give yourself and your loved ones. Those first few months can be tricky–you’re gonna be a big ole ball of feelings and everything is just going to be magnified times a thousand. Know it gets better, and different, a whole lot different. Just ride those waves out, because they’ll pass.

      I’ll visit your blog soon (I’m on a mini-break here), but feel free to read and comment any time and click around too. Lots and lots of great people here!
      All my best, -Christy

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  19. Thank you, thank you. Facing my first holiday sober. Parties and company on the horizon. I need all the tips I can find. Your post was so helpful. I will be rereading it daily until th parties are over.

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    1. Hi Laura, thank you for the comment! Congrats on your sobriety, man, what a good thing you are doing for yourself and the world– I’m proud for you!
      Be gentle with yourself over the holidays. Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel. I promise feelings won’t kill you, just ride them out and know drinking won’t make anything better.
      Stop by often and click around, awesome people in the comments.
      Breathe… 🙂
      Christy

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  20. Once again, excellent thoughts for a difficult time of year. And, oh yes, don’t think because you are sober suddenly all is forgiven (by relatives, friends, etc.) But, as pointed out, our behavior speaks more truth than any words we might use. Be patient. People come around or they don’t. And, if they don’t, remember you’re not staying sober for the knuckleheads anyway. Happy holidays to all who contributed and to all who read this post, and thanks dear Christy for being YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dennis! Great to hear from you, I think of you often.
      Appreciate your insight…always so helpful.
      I’ve come to recognize my tendency to withdraw during the holidays; the patterns are interesting. But things are good here though, hope all is well with you and your family! Thanks for checking in, c-

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