We’re getting to the time of parties and dinners and homecomings. When everything is sparkly and hazy and beautiful. I don’t know about you but when I envision those times it is always accompanied by alcohol. There’s a bottle of champagne on the table and something sharp and earthy in my hand and all is right with the world.
Except this year is different. This year will be my first sober Christmas in about fifteen years.
In Irish families the stereotype finds some truth. During holidays, celebrations and mournings we find comfort in alcohol. We use it to loosen lips enough to tell stories and to shake of the centuries of collective trauma so that we can come together in socially accepted community. Alcohol is a very real get-out-of-feelings card we play often.
Existing in this space sober gives plenty of opportunity for FOMO and inflammed ego and self-doubt. None of which we should have to deal with because being sober literally means you DON’T miss out! I don’t want to ‘get through’ this time when I get to see and enjoy people in a way I don’t for the rest of the year. I want to fucking relish it.
So here’s my five-point strategy for milking every ounce of authentic joy for my first consciously sober Christmas.
Get real familiar with your why
What you’re doing and why you’re doing it are two crucial hinges of life. They dictate it all baby. So when it comes to sobriety, get to know your intention so that you can return to it when that nosy uncle starts interrogating you because HIS ego is flaring in the presence of your actions.
All of our whys are a little different, but choosing sobriety is always choosing your higher self. And that is a why to relish and wallow in. Look at you making the decision to clear your system of poison that dulls your intuition and your ability to truly connect with the divinity in others.
Get real honest about your internal why and come back to it, honouring it, again and again.
Accept the questions
Let me be real clear – you don’t have to bare your soul to everyone who asks if you’re pregnant because you turned down a beer.
My why is rooted in respecting the needs of my body and my Self over those of my ego. That’s it. And to someone who is familiar with the work I’m doing, that’s how I’d explain it.
But to others I simply say, ‘drink just doesn’t benefit me’. And I smile and I leave it at that. I don’t over-explain and you’ll be amazed how uncomfortable that makes those whose egos want to feed off your insecurity. Generally they’ll leave it at that because you’re not giving them what they need.
FOMO and other nonsense
The ego and the conditioned mind and the shadow. The holidays are heaven for those lads. SO MUCH TRAUMA AND ANGER TO SOAK IN!!! And you being sober detracts from that because you’re far more likely to call your aunt Sarah a raging racist with five gin and tonics in you.
So this trio will likely visit over the festive period, a little more than usual. They’ll come up with some deliciously deep fear of missing out as you see your friends popping open another bottle. It’ll generate insecurity, feeding of childhood trauma, that you’re the odd one out. That you now removed from your community. That your decision to be sober has isolated you and actually damaged you.
They’re tricky bastards, these lads!
And here’s why your WHY is so important. Because when these thoughts come to visit, it is really helpful to have an anchor to hold you where you are and stop you getting pulled backwards.
We all know the feeling – you’ve eaten too much and stayed up too late and what day of the week is it anyways? Around this time to year routine can get lost in the shuffle.
But here’s the thing, your practice bolsters your WHY. It creates the space around situations and thoughts that allows you time to choose your actions and reactions.
I’m not saying you’ve to miss out on the fun. In fact, I want you to be in a place to HAVE all of the fun and remember it too! So for all the gorgeous late-night conversations and lunches with friends, honour yourself. Honour the time you need to show up right and clear for the world around you.
Be honest with yourself. Take the time you need. No explanations necessary.
The collective ego, or the Matrix, has convinced us that sobriety is boring because it wants to keep us drunk and unconscious. If you suddenly feel like you are SO much more fun with a drink in your hand, it might be an invitation to delve deeper into that feeling (when you’ve sobered up!). What are you holding back/repressing/avoiding in your sober life that you feel free of when you’re drinking?
Because play is a natural human state. Joy is innate in us. As is creativity. We are born to revel in this plane, to use its fruits and tools to make and do and laugh and embody lightness. But you know who lightness doesn’t benefit? That’s right, that tricky trio from before.
Our best teachers here are children. Children seek play. There often seems no distinction between the ‘real’ world as we see it and their created universes. They’ll be talking to you one minute and their imaginary friend the next.
The sobriety conversation can get real serious but I’m here to tell you it’s the most LIGHT thing in the world once you’re walking the path with authenticity and awareness. Whether your fun is painting or gardening or acting or running or making faces or doing cartwheels or knitting or jumping rope. You’ve created a world more aligned with your higher self – so PLAY in it baby!