Is it possible to have an alcohol free Christmas? The festive season is characterised by many things…spending time with family and friends, giving gifts, taking holidays, and drinking alcohol…lots and lots of alcohol. Even people who don’t normally drink much throughout the get year caught up in the festive cheer. Regular teetotallers end up binge drinking with reckless abandon as they wind down after what may have been a long and stressful year with work colleagues, old acquaintances and loved ones. Office and family Christmas parties, and Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations become hotspots for out of control drinking.
However, if you’ve given up drinking alcohol for whatever reason, the Christmas and New Year period can be a tough time to get through, particular if the decision to quit is a recent one. With all of the events taking place at this time of year, it’s almost impossible to escape alcohol’s presence and have an alcohol free Christmas. Temptation is everywhere, and if that doesn’t get you, peer pressure will give it a red hot go. Telling people you’ve quit drinking, or just that you aren’t drinking at a particular Christmas event, is akin to blasphemy for some people.
But if you have quit drinking alcohol, and you’re determined to have an alcohol free Christmas, here are 12 strategies you can use to get through.
It’s ok to skip a few events
Christmas parties and family events are not compulsory, so have the strength to just say no. There are so many events at this time of year, that saying no to one or two shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Choose a few that might test your resolve, politely make your excuses, and do something else instead.
Be prepared for an alcohol free Christmas period
You don’t need to stay away from Christmas parties, just have rules in place so you know when it’s time to leave. Have ‘somewhere else to be’ at a certain time, let the host know when you arrive that you need to leave early, then go before temptation hits. By letting the host know that you have to leave early, it won’t be complicated or inconsiderate when you quietly exit stage left!
No need to explain yourself
Don’t feel as though you must explain yourself when people ask why you’re not drinking. A simple, “no thanks, I’ll stick with the water” should suffice. The problem is when people get a few drinks under their belt, they can’t let things go. They don’t mean any harm, after all losing inhibitions are the primary effect of drinking, so if you feel you need to clarify, just say “I’ve got an early start tomorrow”, “I’m trying to lose weight,” or “alcohol gives me migraines.”
Take your own drinks to Christmas events
Events at this time of year are awash with alcohol, yet sometimes there’s very little in the way of non-alcoholic beverages available. Get proactive and take your own drinks with you. That way if there aren’t any soft drinks or juices available, you won’t be tempted into drinking alcohol.
Keep clear of shops that sell alcohol
While it’s nigh on impossible at Christmas time, try and steer clear of shops that sell booze. If you’re in a supermarket, don’t walk down the alcohol aisle. If you feel as though temptation might be too hard to resist while you’re out and about, take a friend who supports your sobriety and will be strong enough to keep you on track.
Throw your own alcohol free party
This way may seem a little controversial, but why not throw your own alcohol free party? It’s pretty much a given that every Christmas party you go to alcohol will feature prominently, so imagine going to a completely dry party? It could be a new Christmas tradition!
Create new Christmas traditions
Speaking of new Christmas traditions, why not invent a few others to replace former alcohol focussed traditions. For example, go to the cinema on Christmas Eve with the family, go bungee jumping, pack up the car and go camping…whatever it takes to reduce the chances of having a moment of alcohol weakness.
Replace drinking activities with something else
Plan other activities with family and friends during traditional drinking times, such as at night, Christmas Eve, parties you’ve been invited to, etc. That way you can be occupied while everyone else is getting wasted!
Take responsibility for the transport
Insist on being the designated driver for your family, friends and work colleagues. Hopefully the responsibility should be enough for you to resist drinking alcohol.
Often people quit drinking alcohol because they want to lead a healthier life. Along with giving up the booze, people also start to hit the gym, eat healthier foods and get better night’s sleep. Make sure you commit to maintaining all of those healthy choices, it will help when you find yourself tempted.
Set goals and reward yourself for reaching them. For example, if you stay off the booze until the end of January, you’ve earned the right to buy that big screen TV you really want. With all the money you’ve saved from not buying copious amounts of alcohol, you’ll be able to afford it!
If your Christmas party is at a bar, order a mocktail instead of water or soft drink. Generally speaking they’re almost always delicious, but it may also keep those probing questions from people who must know everything!
These are just a few of the ways you might be able to have an alcohol free Christmas. Have you used any of these before? Do you have any tactics that I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know by leaving a comment below…