The thought of going alcohol-free in the festive season can be terrifying. This is the time for “good cheer” with family and friends. It almost made me physically sick thinking about a whole week with my family beer-less. Alcohol was my social crutch that boosted my confidence and made boring situations fun.
When I finally made it through my first Christmas holiday season without alcohol I was surprised that it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought. More importantly, there were all these benefits I hadn’t even thought about.
Why a sober Christmas is actually a good thing
1. More money for the important stuff
For an alcoholic, every day off the booze is money saved. After the holidays you’ll have amassed a small bounty which you can use to treat yourself. This is money you wouldn’t normally have had so enjoy it.
2. Look great
Combine a big reduction of sugar in your diet with less over-worked kidneys and your skin starts to glow. Better still, when you look back on Xmas day photos you won’t look plastered for once.
3. Build relationships
You’re more in the moment when you stop drinking. Conversations seem more real and you’ll actually remember them the next day.
4. Create memories (and remember them)
Even though there’s no wine at your plate this year, there will still be loads of fun. The best part is you’ll remember everything you said and did.
5. Increase free time
Anyone who’s quit drinking knows your free time increases dramatically. If you’re at the beach, you might actually learn to surf or catch some fish rather than sitting around drinking all day.
6. Feel like a champion
Without all those toxic chemicals in your system you’ll wake each morning feeling 110%. Loved ones may be a little shocked (in a good way) at how much more energy you have. Positive, energized people are fun to be around.
7. Stress free driving
Do you drink and drive? You shouldn’t. Maybe you like to push the envelope. Constantly calculating in your head how many you’ve consumed, how long it’s been, volume of food intake, divide that by the alcohol content…. It gets so tiring always worrying about whether you can drive. This year, it’ll be stress free driving and cops will no longer be a cause for alarm.
8. Boost confidence
When you get through your first Xmas period without booze you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment. You socialized and interacted without any chemical assistance. It was all you and that gives a strange sense of satisfaction and a real boost to the self-esteem.
9. Better than cutting down
Reducing your intake may work for some, but it probably won’t work for you. If you’ve tried cutting down before and it didn’t work it’s time to bite the bullet. Make a positive change and enjoy the benefits. Personally, if I couldn’t drink lots, I felt like there was no point. It was so frustrating having one or two drinks and it would always put me in a bad mood. By removing the gray area and making your decision black and white, you can put your mind at ease and just enjoy your day.
10. Drama free living
Have you ever done something stupid thanks to alcohol? I did many times. Thankfully I never did anything really embarrassing in front of my family; however, I had no filter after a few drinks and this meant I’d usually offend someone and create drama. Now that I’m in control the festive season is a lot more care-free.
11. Reality check – people don’t drink as much as you think
Now that you’re living alcohol free, you’ll be more aware of your surroundings. You’ll realize that most people aren’t actually drinking as much as you. And the ones that do drink a lot are quite boring to be around.
12. New Year’s Resolutions in December
Forget the binging in December followed up by January New Year’s resolutions. This year, you’ll be living a much healthier lifestyle from the start. I found that with all my spare time I increased my exercise program and there was no need for January resolutions that related to healthy lifestyle.
13. Food appreciation
After a prolonged period without alcohol, your taste buds function better. You’ll also learn to appreciate food in a new way. I’m not sure of the medical reason for this.
Drinking excessively is often associated with gluttony during the festive season. This year, you’ll love food in a new way.
14. Reduced anxiety
The chemicals in alcohol can create a whole raft of negative emotions the day after a drinking session. If you drink every day, excessively, over the festive season, anxiety can become an issue. For me, I was a shaking mess by the time the holidays were over. Say goodbye to all that baggage now that you’re living booze free.
Make this Xmas the best one yet
Christmas time can be a lot of fun and it usually involves excess food and alcohol. This year, it’s the perfect time to try something new. It can be scary thinking about an alcohol free Xmas holiday; the reality is that most of the worry is unnecessary.
Friends and family will care a lot less than you think about your going sober. The ones that do care, you don’t need.
Take a relaxed approach to your festive season and don’t be too guarded about your lifestyle change. It’s important that you play through in your head two scenarios:
- the reason you’re not drinking
- how to deal with people offering you drinks
If you’re not ready to discuss your motives behind a dry holiday season, just make something up. A medical reason works well. My excuse was that I was doing serious training for a big sports event in January and didn’t want to jeopardize it with empty carbs. No dramas.
As I came to the end of the festive season, I felt a strange sense of accomplishment, pride and happiness. It made a nice change to the usual anxiety.