How to stay Alcohol-Free over the festive period.

18th December 2020
This year has been like no other, and I am bloody proud of you and me for staying Alcohol-free. Take a deep breath and tell yourself well done, yes not very British, however, be very proud!

If you are feeling anything like me this year, I'm upping my anti-alcohol consumption game, and I wanted to share it with you.

I am going into my third Christmas AF. This Christmas will be very different than others; this has pluses and minuses depending on what tier you are will be in. The pluses are not so many large social gatherings; the pubs are closing early, and being one of 6 can be tricky for the hosts. Hence, people generally seem to be doing their own thing this year.

The consensus  ...... OMG what a year and officially letting one's hair down seems to be the desired outcome over the festive period with a sense of deserving to and pure festive joy.

I am no way judging anyone who is drinking alcohol; this is my observations and a way I can help others like me planning on being Alcohol-free in the festive period.

Booze is extremely hard to get away from at this time of year even granny who doesn't drink all year indulges in sherry or two. There is no hiding it is a case of planning like a ninja, reconnecting with why you removed alcohol from your life and focusing on the benefits being AF which bring you your own presents all year round! The lesson this year has definitely been there is a lot of things you are not in control of this year apart from you, how you think feel and behave. These are things you can control, so planning ahead is vital what appropriate AF substitute is available for you? Are you going for mocktails or Alcohol-free versions like nosecco or af beers? Making sure you have enough in as others are likely to be curious. What rituals are combined with alcohol? What AF drink can be used instead, you don't have to change the day you can simply change the ingredients. I am going all out on mocktail ingredients even with umbrellas, so it feels special and is a treat. This is the mindset you want rather than a place of deprivation or hardship.

Reconnect with your reasons WHY you chose to remove alcohol from your life. As time goes on, it is easy to lose sight of due to the reasons our brain is excellent as looking back with the rosetinted lens on the perceived experience rather than actual reality! Thoughts pop up with oh its a special occasion I can just have one can't I? Or I'm going to be left out? Once this kind of inter dialogue creeps in it can turn into a slippery slope…. Catch it quickly and become 100% committed and shut that door firmly on alcohol have your list of why's where you can see them and it the notes on your phone so you can access at any time. Be realities with the truth of the outcomes of what happens when you drink harsh but good for a quick reality check maybe a photo of you on day 1?

Mostly you want to focus on the benefits you have personally gained there are so many to list. With many individual circumstances, I will share some of mine, a better relationship with my husband and children. My health and vitally has massively improved. I actually love and respect myself, which has lead to substantial personal integrity leading to improved self-esteem and confidence in being "perfectly imperfect me"! The beauty of this as long as I'm alcohol-free it will last.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room, yes other people are going to be drinking around you, and some of those people are going to be curious about why you are not drinking. Some want you to drink with them, and this says more about their relationship with the booze than you personally. That's ok be light-hearted, breezy, flipping in your response and change the subject. I simply say alcohol doesn't work for me; please carry on, don't let me stop you. I'm not judging you. Some people need a little while longer to get their heads around it. Giving them the heads up that you are not drinking alcohol before the event defiantly helps; especially if they are hosting so they can provide alternatives, it is always good to take your own as well…. Remember, plan like a ninja. The quicker you identify as being alcohol-free, the easier it will be for you going forward.

One technique I use with my clients is to play it forward' like watching video footage of your self in the future of you being Alcohol-free after an event highlighting how you are going to feel the next morning and the days to follow? This feeling of proudness never gets old and is your strong foundation to build your awesome alcohol free life on with all being AF brings you.

One of my top tips is to start building your resilience now, cover your fundamental physical needs for sleep, exercise, nutrition, meditation, so you go in strong into the festive period.

You also want to attend to your emotional needs now by having that honest conversation with yourself of what do you need from yourself? Is it time out to recalibrate, is it having a sober buddy to check in with and support. Maybe it is creating boundaries or saying no. You will have an idea as it will be linked with your triggers these have gold in them for a deeper understanding of yourself and what you need, they are awareness is not always easy to accept but being completely honest it is why you were drinking alcohol in the first place, and you don't want to go back there. Do this from a place of self-compassion, not self-judgement feelings are ok it is the way the body communicates with you. It is a sensation; the caveat is beware of the story you attach to this is, is one that is helping you move forward or one that is pulling you back?

I love the Albert Einstein quote if you do the same thing and expect a different outcome it is the definition of insanity, so my question to you is what you are to do that is different to get the outcome you want?

Do not feel you are on your own surround yourself with other likeminded people seek out sober forums, sober podcasts and quit lit books come and join my group Empower your Alcohol-Free Life.

Put your time energy and effort on how you want things to be and all the amazing benefits that come with being alcohol-free my top three are clarity of mind, the extra time and no anxiety or depression. Good hey?!

Focus on how you want 2021 to shape up with your alcohol-free superpowers. Look at what can you achieve, change or continue to build on with your extra money, energy, time, productiveness being alcohol-free is only the beginning; it is the catalyst to an extraordinary life. Why would you risk that for a few days over the festive period?

 You can do this; I know you can. If you are struggling to reach out join my Facebook group with like-minded people. Check out  Empower your Alcohol-free life
This is a short, intense period. In January lots of are people will be on our page. Focus on how proud you will feel after the festive period staying alcohol-free.

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