20 Ways to Sleigh the Holidays: Alcohol-Free Tips for a Sober(ish) Holiday Season

Episode 141 November 29, 2023 00:34:55
20 Ways to Sleigh the Holidays: Alcohol-Free Tips for a Sober(ish) Holiday Season
Alcohol Tipping Point
20 Ways to Sleigh the Holidays: Alcohol-Free Tips for a Sober(ish) Holiday Season

Nov 29 2023 | 00:34:55


Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

The holidays are a time of joy, celebration, and connection. But they can also be a time of stress, temptation, and pressure for those who want to reduce or quit drinking. How can you enjoy the festive season without alcohol, or with less of it? In this episode, I share 20 tips to help you sleigh the holidays. Whether you are planning ahead, setting boundaries, finding alternatives, or embracing the magic of the season, I have some ideas to make your holidays happier, healthier and alcohol free. 

Ready to make it a December to Remember? Join the December Live Alcoholiday and get more tools and support to practice not drinking during the holidays. Monthly dry group to help you take a break from drinking with online support and tools. Find out more here: https://www.alcoholtippingpoint.com/alcoholiday Use code: HOLIDAY to save 35% for December.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Welcome to the alcoholiday tipping point, podcast. I'm your host deb Maisner. I'm a registered nurse, health coach, and alcoholiday free badass. I have found that there's more than one way to address drinking. If you've ever asked yourself if drinking is taking more than it's giving, or if you've found that you're drinking more than usual, you may have reached your own alcohol Tipping Point. The Alcohol Tipping Point is a podcast for to find tips, tools and thoughts to change your drinking. Whether you're ready to quit forever or a week, this is the place for you. You are not stuck and you can change. Let's get started. [00:00:39] Thank you for listening to this episode of the Alcohol Tipping Point. Today we are going to be talking about ways to slay the holidays. Here we are. I'm recording this at the end of November. We've just gone through Thanksgiving. Shouldn't say gone through, but now we are really starting into the holidays, which can be a really difficult time to change your drinking. Whether you've been sober for a long time or you're just wanting to take a break, you're wanting to have a December to remember. [00:01:13] It can be challenging. In this podcast, I wanted to make sure I gave you just specific tips and mindset, tricks and thoughts to help you through this holiday season. And if you want extra help, I'd love to have you join the December Alcohol Day. It's the live group I do every month. It's just a way for you to practice not drinking. And it starts the 1 December and a special holiday discount you get is using the code Holiday All Caps and you get 35% off. And guys, that makes it less than $2 a day. So it's super affordable. And I know that finances are tight and if even that is difficult for you, please reach out because I would love to have you join. And there are scholarships available and special thank you to all of you that have joined before that are joining because your support just helps keep this podcast going. It keeps other people in the programs who can't afford it. And I just really appreciate your support, I appreciate you just listening. So I want to thank you for that. And then again invite you to join the December Alcoholiday and you can find [email protected] alcoholiday. And as usual, I'll put that link in the show notes. And just to remind you, it's just a small group. We've been having about 2025 people in it and it's private, it's not on Facebook, and I give you daily emails and lots of content, maybe too much content, but I want to make sure you have so many different tools and resources to help you on this journey. Whether you're taking a break or whether you are wanting to just divorce alcohol, I want to give you lots of tools and information. So lots of things for dealing with cravings, with stress, anxiety, socializing you get an in depth guide and journal. We meet twice a week. We have live coaching calls where you can get support and accountability. [00:03:22] And it's just a great way to finish out this year, finish out 2023 and just have a December to remember, have some clear holiday celebrations. And you don't have to be perfect. I'm all about practice, not perfection. So this is all about taking a month to practice, not drinking, and just learn some more and get some support. So alcohol tipping point, alcoholiday and use that code, alcoholiday all caps and you save 35%. And alumni, let me know if you want to join again. If you've been in the program before, I give you a super discount and you have a discount code. All right, well, let's get started. Let's talk about slaying, pun intended. Slaying, the holidays, having an alcohol free or soberish holiday season. [00:04:21] And so I have lots of tips, probably 20 plus. And so I'm just going to go through them. I like when people tell me how I want to know what should I do? And so that's what I want to spend some time doing. There'll be some practical tools, but they'll also just be some thoughts for you to consider. [00:04:41] So the first thing is just anytime you have an event, I like to focus on one day at a time. That old cliche. But what I really think can be helpful for you is to plan. And with that planning, decide ahead of time if you are going to drink or not. And again, you can take that one day at a time, right? And so what this really is the concept of intention versus commitment. So when we talk about intention, that's kind of vague. That's that thing you plan to do or achieve, right? I'm sure you've ran into someone on the street and said, hey, good to see you. Let's get coffee sometime. Right? Let's intend to get coffee. And then you never really do, you never really follow through. It's just an intention. It might be a good intention. [00:05:38] You may have lots of intentions ranging from putting your laundry away to running a marathon, like, yeah, I'd like to do that sometime. It's just something you desire and hope to do and there's nothing wrong with it, right. It kind of leads you in that direction. [00:05:54] What commitment is, commitment is a promise or a firm decision to do something. So when we're really able to change it's, when we commit to doing something and then start doing it. And so when you're thinking about drinking, are you intending not to drink or are you committed to not drinking? And so, you'll know, if you're just intending not to drink, when you use things like, I'd like to stop drinking, I'll try not drinking. I hope I can manage my drinking. And we see that a lot when people are going into events like, I hope I don't drink I think I won't drink. I'd like to not drink. And so when you're committed to not drinking, it sounds more like, I am not drinking. I will be alcohol free. I am managing my drinking. I don't drink. So think about that. And something that can help you decide ahead of time is doing a cost benefit analysis. And I have a prior episode about this tool that really helps you kind of get things out of your head and onto paper. So a cost benefit analysis is you're just doing it for that specific day or event or the season, right? And so you're going to write down all the pros and cons of drinking and then all the pros and cons of not drinking. Write all those down, be very specific, and then decide. [00:07:27] And then commit to your decision and own that decision. I think sometimes we feel out of control, and we feel like our drinking is out of control because it feels like it's not our choice. Even if you decide to drink, own that decision. And I know that sounds counterintuitive. Why would I decide to drink? It's because you're making that decision with the frontal part of your brain because you're making it with the logical part of your brain. And instead of like the back, I talk about your brain being a mullet business in the front, party in the back. So there's a logical part of you that is saying, I want to be alcohol free. I'm not drinking. And here's why and all the reasons why. And then there is the party backside of your brain, the molt side of your brain that's just like, I don't care. I want to feel good. I want to feel good right away. And that party side knows that drinking is the fastest way to feel pleasure in the temporary moment. In the short term, we know in the long term, it causes a lot of pain, hangovers, anxiety, depression, all of that. But in the short term, it feels good. Otherwise you wouldn't drink, right? And so using that cost benefit analysis really helps you logically write down the pros and cons of drinking and not drinking and then deciding, okay, how do I want to show up for this event? What do I want to get out of it? [00:09:00] And then own that decision. And then you've already decided before going in, and I'll talk about more tools and tips for that for specific events, but I just wanted to spend a little bit of time on that, planning ahead and making a decision. [00:09:19] Okay, so I like these next question set of questions, and they come from Casey Davidson, who hosts Hello Someday, and she uses these questions to help you consider what you want out of this whole alcoholiday season. [00:09:35] The four questions that she asks are what do I love about the know? What are the things you love about the holidays? Do you love the lights? [00:09:47] Being with your family? Do you love the food? [00:09:54] Just think about all the different things you love about the season. Do you love snow? Do you love skiing? What do you love? And then write all those down and then consider, how do I want to feel? How do you want to feel this season? Do you want to feel like you have a lot of energy? Do you want to feel refreshed? Do you want to feel curious, confident, engaged, grateful? How do you want to feel? How do you want to show up? [00:10:26] And then your next question is, who do I want to spend time with? [00:10:30] This is a tough one because a lot of times we're spending time with peripheral family members or we're going to parties, work parties, or do we want to spend time with them? Who do we really want to spend time with? Do we just want to spend time with our core family? Do we just want to spend time with our pets? Like, who do we want to spend time with? [00:10:54] And then the last question is what is difficult or challenging? Is it difficult to fly out and see your outlaws or in laws? Is it challenging to go to all these events? Is it challenging to be alone? Is it difficult? [00:11:13] Maybe you are grieving. This can be a time of year that a lot of people are grieving for, people they've lost or maybe they had an idea of what their life would be like. Right now, we're approaching the end of the year, and there's a lot of reflection. And so is that difficult for you? Is that challenging for you? [00:11:35] And then those are the four questions. But then I would add to that is like, what can make it easier? What can make it more fun? What is going to help you manage? And maybe it's not going to all the events. Maybe it's not participating in everything. Maybe it's letting some things go. Maybe it's spending time by yourself or spending time volunteering if you're lonely, like, okay, what can I do to help ease this loneliness and this grief? And usually that involves getting out into the community, giving back to others, just doing something else. [00:12:18] And so those are great questions to consider as you're in this kind of planning stage of the holiday season. What do I love about the season? How do I want to feel? Who do I want to spend time with? What is difficult or challenging? And how can I make it easier? [00:12:36] Moving on to another tip, and I kind of alluded to this. Don't go to all the things. This kind of seems obvious, but maybe you have a quota. Maybe you are overwhelmed and you're like, you know what? I'm going to go to one event a week or four for the season or whatever that looks like. And then stick to that. Stick to that boundary. You don't have to go to all the things and just remember that you're a grown ass adult. You don't have to do it all. I know it seems like you should, and it's an obligation, but maybe it's not. [00:13:12] Maybe it's not. And I think COVID kind of gave us that gift of escape before where we weren't going to all the things. [00:13:22] The other thing I've noticed is kind of a rebound effect now that we're back to, quote, unquote, normal socializing, there's kind of this rebound effect of, oh, now I want to go to all the things. [00:13:34] And so it's just something to consider, like choosing what you want to do and not do and recognizing that you're a grown ass adult and you can decide that for yourself. [00:13:49] Another thing you can do is instead of romanticizing drinking, romanticize being alcohol free, romanticize what it's like to be sober romanticize, like the childlike wonder of the holidays, romanticize that. And I'm just reminded of no one ever after the holidays is like, gosh, I really wish I would have drank more, wish I would have tied one on more. I wish I had more hangovers. [00:14:25] You don't get that. You get a lot of regret at the end of the holiday season, like, oh, I wish I hadn't drank so much. I wish I hadn't wasted my holidays. I wish I hadn't wasted my time off. I wish I was more present. And so lean into the opposite of that, then say, okay, for the holidays, I really want to be alcohol free. And what that means to me is that I'm going to feel more peaceful. I'm going to feel more confident. I'm going to feel more gratitude. I'm going to be more present. [00:14:57] I'm going to have less anxiety because the drinking is leading to anxiety. [00:15:03] I'm just really going to be here for it, for all of it. [00:15:08] Consider that and really lean into that wonder and think about how happy the kids are for the holidays. And they're not drinking. They're getting joy out of the first snowfall. They're getting joy out of singing, sing Christmas carols, the Christmas lights, the trees, the decorations, the cookies, all of that. So really lean into romanticizing, being sober, romanticizing what you're getting, not what you're giving up. [00:15:43] All right, another tip is let perfection go. Oh, this is a tough one. Just as I was coming, I was walking upstairs to record this. I kept saying to myself, done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect. Because that's one of my go to sayings so that I can let perfection go as well. And then same with being a parent. If you're a parent, especially if you have young kids whoo that's a challenging this is a challenging time. The holidays are just extra because there's decorations, there's shopping, there's hiding presents. [00:16:23] It's just so extra. [00:16:28] Let some perfection go. Maybe you don't wrap all your presents. Maybe you throw a bow on them, put them out Christmas morning or whatever you're celebrating, right? I have my favorite coffee mug. I'm drinking out of I'm drinking out of it right now. And it says, I'm proud to be a remarkably average parent. [00:16:48] Just recognizing that there's no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect holiday and you can do things a little differently. And just because you did it one way last year doesn't mean you need to do it this way this year. Maybe you cut back on the spending on the presents, maybe get creative. [00:17:11] And your kids, are they really going to remember the specific presence or are they going to remember the specific activities and time together and whatnot? And so easier said than done, but it's such a good reminder to just let it go. Be a remarkably average parent. All you need to do is love your kids, love each other. [00:17:36] Okay, let's talk about actual events because some of that is just all just thinking about the season and how you want to show up. Let's talk about if you are going because this can be triggering for people. If you are going to an event, you have a party or it's Christmas Day or Christmas Eve or Hanukkah or whatever it is. Let's get into specifics. My number one tip, my go to number one tip always is eat. Eat. [00:18:10] So eat before you go. And the reason why is a lot of the times low blood sugar or even being dehydrated can mimic the signs of a drinking craving. Think about when you're hangry. [00:18:24] When you are hangry, when you are hungry, you start to get kind of shaky and anxious and irritated. And those are all things you feel. Also, when you want a drink, make sure you're eating something. I don't care what you eat. If you want to be a little more on the healthy side, just make sure you get some protein. Add protein to whatever you're choosing to eat because it will keep you full longer and it will help keep your blood sugar steady. And so that's my number one tip. Eat before you go. [00:19:02] And when you're there, really enjoy the food. You don't have to eat everything, but maybe you can taste certain things. [00:19:10] Just enjoy the food. Because I guarantee if you go in there starving, hungry, low blood sugar, and then it's that added stress and all the drinking around you, it's going to just be easier for you to say yes to a drink. [00:19:28] And so what we want to make is we want to make it easier for you to say no to a drink. We want that to be a go to statement. Not drinking today, I don't drink. That kind of thing. [00:19:42] You can drive to the event and so that will give you an out and it will also give you an answer to why you're not drinking. I'm not drinking. I'm driving. One thing to consider is not being the designated driver so that you're not stuck hauling all the over intoxicated people around. Maybe that's karma, I don't know. But recognize, like, if you want to leave, you got to leave. So it can be difficult if you're the designated driver because you can feel stuck and wanting to leave. [00:20:18] Those people can Uber, right? They can walk. They can uber. Just protect yourself and protect others. If you want to stick around and you feel good about and grateful that you can be sober and drive people home, that's wonderful. Just make sure it's your choice and you don't feel stuck and obligated. [00:20:40] A good thing to have also is to have a treat waiting for you after your event. When you get home from that event and you've been alcoholiday free, you've rocked it. Make sure that you have a treat to look forward to. That could be something to eat, something you want to watch. Maybe you got a new book. Maybe you got a new candle. Maybe I'm just throwing things out there. But just have something waiting for you when you get home so you have something to look forward to. And then you're also rewarding yourself for being alcoholiday free. [00:21:16] And that can be really helpful, just in general, to give yourself these little sober treats, these alcohol free treats, and just really acknowledge, like, hey, you did a good job. [00:21:29] Proud of you. Here's a reward. Because at first, you're going to need that external motivation, that external treat, before it just becomes intrinsic, before it just becomes automatic for you. So I really like the idea of treats, and so even little treats, but also bigger treats. Maybe if you do a week, if you do seven days without drinking, maybe you have a bigger treat that's like, I don't know, maybe that bigger treat is buying new shoes, say. And then you can be like, these are my soaper shoes or my alcohol free shoes or whatever. Or maybe at the end of the month, you have an even bigger treat. Maybe you're keeping track of all the money that you would have spent on drinking, and you keep that in a separate jar, visible jar. Like, gosh, if I would have gone out to the restaurant and drank and then to the bar and then came home and cracked open that bottle of wine, and then that really adds up. A night of drinking could easily be $100. [00:22:38] Maybe you have a separate bank account that you put that money into. Maybe you just get cash out, and you're just looking at the cash in your jar, and that's reminding you of, you know, I can visibly see what's happening when I'm alcohol free and the money I'm saving. [00:22:57] Okay, keeping on keeping on with these events. You can come early and leave early. [00:23:03] I love that Courtney Anderson from Sober Vibes, she was on the podcast, and she said she has a 60 Minutes rule, especially at the beginning, like, I'm just going to show up for 60 minutes and then I'm out. [00:23:17] And you can do the Irish exit. You can just leave. [00:23:22] Did I say come early? Yeah, come early. You can even come late and leave early. I love that. Have you seen that T shirt? It says, sorry I'm late, but I didn't want to come because sometimes that's truly it, right? So maybe you're obligated to go because I know a lot of these things we feel obligated to go to. [00:23:45] Maybe you show up, but you're just staying for 60 minutes and that's it. And switch that from the negative to the positive instead of staying like, oh, I can only stay 60 minutes. Oh, I can only stay until ten, or whatever that is. Switch what you're saying instead of I can't stay long to I can stay 60 minutes. Hey, I'm so glad. Hey, I can stay until nine. Oh, boy. Instead of I can't stay long. Right? So you're just switching from the negative to the positive. [00:24:23] And the other thing, you can switch from the negative to positive. Instead of saying, I can't drink, oh, I can't drink, I can't drink tonight, I'm driving, or I can't drink, I have a problem. You don't have to say that. You can just say, I don't drink, I'm not drinking. [00:24:40] And that sounds a little more positive and more ownership. I can't drink versus I don't drink. [00:24:48] And so, again, that's just switching from the negative to the positive. [00:24:53] But then you can also have a go to statement when someone says, hey, you want to drink? Instead of saying, oh, I can't drink, you can say, yeah, I want a Diet Coke, my go to. I'd like a Diet Coke or a mocktail or whatever. And of course, you can bring your own drinks and do all those tricks and tools also. [00:25:14] But maybe it's just easier to have a go to drink that you want that's not an alcohol drink. And then you're holding something in your hand because sometimes you just want to be holding something in your hand. It's just so common. Everyone else is holding something in their hand, and so it doesn't matter what you're holding as long as it's alcohol free. And then you're still part of the group. And then, honestly, they don't care. They won't care anymore. And for a lot of people and how I was, more alcohol for me. Don't drink all the wine I brought. Right? It's kind of funny because I hear about people bringing their alcohol free drinks or alcohol free wine, and then other people start drinking it, and then they get a little territorial. But honestly, it's a really cool thing that other people are like, oh, this is cool. Check this out. They're trying athletic brewing. They're trying an NA beer for the first time, making it kind of quirky and cool. I have a gal that packs around. She brings her own cup. She has one that is cute and looks like a pineapple. And then she has another kind of like it's a water bottle, but it looks like a can and it has like all these positive affirmations on it. So it looks like she's drinking a can of beer or some mixed drink. She takes that and she just puts whatever she wants in it, water or whatever. [00:26:47] When you're at the event, you can have an agenda or a checklist. [00:26:53] So think, okay, I'm going to talk to the host, I'm going to talk to one new person. I'm going to eat one dessert and one new food I've never had before, if that's possible. And that can just kind of give you something to do in a checklist and just be check, check. [00:27:12] And a lot of these suggestions are from Bex. Weller, who, I'm going to have her on the podcast soonish, I hope. But she has a whole it's a journal, I think it's a whole journal about socializing sober. And she has a bunch of tips and tools like the agenda checklist. She also recommends wearing or carrying around a grounding object. [00:27:39] And so you have a go to that you can just it gives you comfort. It's like self soothing. And so maybe it's a necklace that you wear. Maybe you have a special rock or if you're into crystals, maybe you have that and it's in your pocket or something either on you. Maybe it's a bracelet. Maybe you got a bracelet that says, like, oh, I wear a bracelet that says AFPA, which stands for alcohol free badass. [00:28:10] So have something that just reminds you that you can go to that's like, oh yeah, that's my kick ass grounding object that reminds me that I don't drink and that I don't want to drink. It is the other thing. You are not alone in these activities. Even if you are a drinker, the holidays are overwhelming and you're not alone in that. And that's why a lot of people turn to drink, because the holidays are overwhelming and they do cause a lot of anxiety. [00:28:45] However, drinking doesn't make them easier. It may make them easier in the moment, but in the long term it makes it harder to go shopping when you're hungover or getting up Christmas morning after you've drank all Christmas Eve. That's hard. [00:29:02] That is really hard. And so you can choose your hard. You can choose to be uncomfortable on Christmas Eve and maybe a little anxious that you're not drinking, but that may only last a couple of hours. [00:29:18] Or you can choose to drink and then have the hours of feeling like crap, of waking up in the middle of the night, of getting poor sleep, of just maybe forgetting to put out stockings, maybe not wrapping everything, maybe just dragging your ass Christmas morning when the kids are unwrapping presents and you're just holding your cup of coffee, shaking. I've had a lot of Christmas mornings like that, and they suck. And so choose your heart. Choose which one you would rather have. Would you rather be uncomfortable for a few hours the night before or have the next day where you are well rested and you are present and you are there and you feel good and you feel proud of yourself. [00:30:12] Okay, going on with our actual event. Another suggestion from Bex is aromatic therapy. She suggests that at home you choose a scent, whatever you want. If you're into oils or whatever it is, maybe it's just peppermint, apples, cinnamon, whatever. So at home, have this scent and just visualize the event, visualize being alcohol free. Visualize how you want to feel, how you want to show up. And then when you're at the event, wear that scent with you. And so you're going to associate cinnamon with that feeling of being alcohol free. Or maybe it's peppermint or whatever your scent is. And so really connect the senses that way. That can be helpful. [00:31:08] When you're at the event, take breaks, go in the bathroom, do an Instagram scroll, look up, hashtag sober. And you can find all kinds of support and tools. Maybe you have someone you want to text or call or just get support from. Take a break, that's okay, that is okay. And then go back to it. Or leave, just leave early. Do your Irish exit then, right? And I would just encourage you to challenge yourself. Make it fun, make it an experiment. [00:31:41] And you can have an alcohol free holiday, whether it's just one event or many. [00:31:47] I just want to remind you, we get a lot of practice not drinking on ordinary days, right, on a Monday after work, or Tuesday, Wednesday, just regular days. But holidays like Christmas time, Hanukkah, whatever you're celebrating, those come once a year. And so give yourself some grace and compassion and recognize that this will be practice for you. Maybe you haven't had a sober December in years, in decades. Maybe it's time to try. [00:32:26] Maybe there's some you know, maybe it's just been Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and maybe you pick one of those that you're like, you know what? I'm going to have an alcohol free Christmas Day. I haven't done that in years. [00:32:40] Do it. See how it feels. Be curious about it. Challenge yourself and just recognize, like, this is practice. It takes a lot of practice to change our habits, to change our patterns. So be kind, be compassionate. [00:32:56] And if you want to get support, extra support for this holiday season and just make it a December to remember, come join us. Come join me in the December alcohol day again you can go to Alcoholtippingpoint.com alcoholiday and sign up there. And you can get 35% off using the code Holiday. H-O-L-I-D-A-Y. All capital letters. And that makes your alcoholiday less than $2 a day, less than a drink a. Day, way less than a drink a day. So do join. And I have so much more support and tools for you in the alcoholiday. Lots of things about dealing with cravings and socializing and how to be kind and compassionate to yourself. I throw in some science there because I'm a nurse and a science geek. So do come join. I'd love to have you. And if not, I just love that you are listening to this, that you are doing something about your drinking. And I am so, so proud of you and so, so honored to be on this journey with you. Hope you have a wonderful day and I'll talk to you next week. [00:34:10] Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. Please share and review the show so you can help other people too. I want you to know I'm always here for you, so please reach out and talk to me on Instagram at alcoholiday tipping point and check out my website, Alcoholiday Tipping Point Free Resources and Help. No matter where you are on your drinking journey, I want to encourage you to just keep practicing, keep going. I promise you are not alone and you are worth it. Every day you practice not drinking is a day you can learn from. I hope you can use these tips we talked about for the rest of your week. And until then, talk to you next time.

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