And so this is Christmas ... and what have you done? Well, the great folks on this thread have done something huge - battled the booze and taken control. For some of us it's now second nature, for others a new and difficult road to follow, but you are on that road and that's a great achievement.
No matter where we are on the sober journey, Christmas is a tricky time. Family events, work events, neighbourhood gatherings ... there will be people thrusting booze at us from all directions. Even telling us that 'one won't hurt'. So, we need some strategies.
Here are my tips for avoiding the booze over Christmas, and I'd love to hear more from others:
Appoint yourself designated driver and offer people a lift. They won't question you if they can get something out of it.
Take your own favourite non-alcoholic drink to every party you go to, even if drinks are supplied.
Eat before you go out and keep eating while you're there. You are less likely to be tempted to drink if you feel really full. Eating sweet things, especially cake or something else substantial can help (you're more likely to want tea or coffee with a big helping of cake).
Having said that, avoid the booze-laden trifles or sweets. (I know, that's a real bugger. Love trifle I do, I make it without the booze). Even though a small rum ball or serving of trifle might not affect you, it might give you the taste for a drink. I even avoid boozy chocolates and sauces for that reason.
If you don't feel comfortable telling people you're not drinking, lie. Tell them you're on medication, tell them you're not feeling well, tell them you just don't feel like it, whatever.
Know that if people persist in trying to get you to drink it's usually because they want to feel less guilty themselves over getting plastered. Everyone who drinks with them reinforces (for them) that it's OK. You don't have to make them feel better!
If you want to give the appearance of having a drink to avoid questions, take alcohol-free champagne or such with you. But check the labels carefully before you buy - some that look alcohol-free are actually low alcohol.
If it gets too much, leave. If it's stressing you then you are not having fun, so what's the point of being there?
Years of practice have taught me it is entirely possible to join in a party without drinking. True.
Anyone else got some tips?
Cheers to all