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Sober Christmas

Well friends, here we are.

You may or may not have gotten all of your holiday shopping done. You may or may not be looking forward to spending the holiday with loved ones. You may be dreading the familiar or trying to embrace some new rituals and traditions.

There are so many expectations around what this time of year is supposed to look like. Tables piled high with food, families together and lots of joy and contentment. Well life isn’t a greeting card and if we were going to speak honestly about how the holidays make us feel the sentiment you’d hear is “they are hard.”

This is your reminder that things don’t have to be perfect. Please be gentle and forgiving with yourself and everyone around you. It is okay if things are messy. It’s okay if you are stressed. It’s totally okay if you eat a little extra or sleep a little late.  Share honestly how you feel – but do so with kindness. Ask for what you need.

If this is your first holiday sober, work those recovery tools! Get to a meeting, find ways to be of service, stay close to your fellowship.

This too shall pass. The new year is just around the corner and the future is wide open!

Some quick survival tips to get through the holiday weekend:

  1. Keep it Sweet: Sugar is not great in big doses. But in a pinch, a little candy is a lifesaver. It staves of the hangries, boosts your energy and can feel really satisfying when there isn’t much else you can do for relief in a stressful moment. Get a bag of Hershey’s minis or some starburst or whatever and put those bad boys in your pockets, the cup holder of the car, your bag…whatever. We’ll get to cutting out sugar and drinking green smoothies and doing all the exercise in January. 😉
  2. BYOB: Bubbly water, lemons and limes, pink lemonade, cranberry cocktail, pomegranate punch, chocolate milk …you get the idea. Pack yourself some personal, non-alcoholic refreshments and stay hydrated!
  3. Cook, Serve, Clean: Stay busy! Declare yourself master of the mashed potatoes, clear those plates and scrub some pans. Busy hands and good deeds work wonders for getting through a holiday event.
  4. Phone a Friend: Reach out to those sober peeps. A quick phone chat or, even better, some IRL fellow-shipping combats loneliness, stress, anxiety and resentments.
  5. Find your Cozy: Remember that security blanket or stuffed animal you had as a child? It’s time to find your grown-up equivalent. Some soft slippers, a soft sweater, a scarf or even dress: dress yourself for comfort.
  6. Move, breathe, pause: These three things will get you through any situation, any stretch of difficult time and carry you to through to the next right thing. Exercise: Walk, hit a class at the gym, get some laps in at the pool, do some gentle yoga. Sweat is great but this is about moving your limbs around, getting the blood flowing and triggering your brain to release those fabulous endorphins.
  7. Meditation: Taking 3 slow breaths or doing the whole cross-legged-chanting for an hour will both work! If you have a meditation practice that’s great. If you don’t, now’s a great time to start one. A few breaths, a setting of intention, a release of whatever is pressure-cooking in your head.
  8. Pause: Just…take a moment. Before you respond to that email, make an assumption, react to something hurtful…just, pause. Find your center, root yourself in the moment, ask the universe for guidance and practice creating space in between thoughts and actions. This can save a lot of trouble later on.
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