How to Quit Drinking Tips: Shine During the Holidays Alcohol-Free
By Karolina Rzadkowolska
The decision not to drink is LIFE-affirming and each season you move through gives you more resilience and develops your capacity to build your dream life. But the holiday season can be a minefield, between holiday parties, family obligations, and the stress of putting on the whole show. Below are the things I’ll be keeping in mind this holiday. To tell you the truth, I am so excited to celebrate my favorite holiday (Christmas Eve) sans booze this year. Because alcohol never heightened the experience before. It made it something to get through.
Bring a festive drink
On an individual level, humans are very concerned with fairness, and believe they deserve the same benefits and perks as everyone else. For example, you might not be addicted to hors d’ouevres, but if you went to a party and everyone got a beautiful treat from the chef except for you, you would feel slightly bummed and miffed at the injustice of being left out. Now is a time when alcohol marketers are making drinks look like the perfect accessory to your festive party, and showing up without a plan could get at the core of your underlying desire to fit in. If you’re at a hosted party, ask the bartender for a creative mocktail, or go-to stand bys like club soda with bitters or cranberry juice with lime. For family gatherings, make a batch of mocktails (find some recipes here). You might be surprised at who else will love you for making them one. Also eggnog from the grocery store is already a mocktail. Spiced tea is also really nice for hot drinks.
Humans want to feel special, treated, and have premium choices. Plan ahead to have your bases covered.
Become more aware
Mindfulness is almost an overused term and being more mindful doesn’t necessarily mean more time on your yoga or meditation mat. Consider that there are two (or more) voices in your head. The one that is aligned with your intuition and higher self, and the fear-based mentality that was formed from constructions of society. So many things we believe have no foundation in truth. When you find yourself believing a story that you are not enough or that you need alcohol to be enough (like I need alcohol to have fun or to relax), stop, breath, and observe your false thoughts. Your thoughts (including the ones that don’t register in your conscious brain) create your feelings and emotions which then guide your behaviors. Become aware and skeptical of any thought that isn’t serving your self-worth.
Carve out more me-time
With all the things we have to do, gift buying, meal preparing, holiday parties, creating the perfect experience for kiddos, it seems almost unreasonable to demand that you also go pound the pavement or keep up with a journal practice. But have you ever noticed how you find you have more time and energy when you invest in the activities that make your soul sing? Go for a walk in the woods or find a room of your own. The easiest way for me to fit in me-time for introspection is through a morning and nightly routine. In the morning, try waking up half an hour earlier than you have to to journal, meditate, or work out. At night, retire to your bedroom at least half an hour before bedtime to read, take a bath, or journal some more. Feeling balanced will go a long way this hectic time of year.
Quell FOMO with JOMO
Don’t let your monkey mind latch on to all the reasons why you are missing out by not drinking like everyone else. Truly think through all the things you are missing out on this holiday season:
Embarrassing yourself at your company holiday party
Wine teeth and lips
Fights with your family
Disappointing yourself by drinking more than you wanted to
General unrest because alcohol never soothes
Now smile with JOMO, the joy of missing out.
Create a new history
Think back on the last five holidays when you were drinking. Do you have the most amazing beautiful festive memories? I don’t. I always had a hangover on Christmas day after Christmas Eve dinner. It may seem like drinking is such a normal thing to do, but “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” (Tony Robbins). Take a step forward and picture what a holiday party would look like if you caved to peer pressure. Would you stop at just one drink? Would you feel at peace? Would you wake up feeling rested and proud of yourself? Now visualize yourself sober enjoying the night, because you are putting yourself first. Be gleeful, and proud of your strength and accomplishment.
Perfect your one liner
You don’t owe anyone your story and certainly don’t have to explain to anyone why you choose not to drink ethanol this holiday season. Saying a one liner with confidence and self-assuredness drops the issue. My favorites are:
I don’t drink
I’m happier without it
I’m great, thanks
If your loved ones or friends expect you to drink, feel free to be honest that your trying an alcohol-free season to become happier or even resort to an excuse.
Give yourself permission to say no
You are definitely not obliged to go to every event, every dinner, every gathering. If you inner gut is saying no, or if you feel pulled in too many directions, find joy in saying no to some holiday social obligations. I do. Set boundaries for yourself and don’t do any activities just to people please.
Decide what this means to you
Set your intentions for the holiday season. What do you want to experience? How do you want to relate to loved ones? How will gifts play or not play a role in this?
Find greater meaning and connection during the last month of the year by contemplating and reflecting on what you truly want out of holiday time. You’ve become especially good at listening to your inner voice. Take time to reflect on the new year as well, because clearly you are really pushing boundaries this time around. You are living a life you’ve never lived and challenging yourself to do things you’ve never done. I’m so excited for you.