Day 315: I survived my first Christmas sober. Actually, I didn’t ‘survive’ it. I lived it.
Since starting my recovery journey I’ve had to navigate numerous times of the year which have made me anxious and worried about not drinking. I reached, faced and passed each milestone and it’s fair to say that this is what makes us stronger in sobriety.
Whilst Christmas has been a potential trigger point and challenging time of the year for many people I’ve spoken to in my recovery circles I can honestly say it hasn’t been for me. Considering it was my first festive period abstaining from alcohol I can report back that I haven’t once had an interest, urge or thought about drinking. I used to like a Baileys on Christmas Eve, Bucks Fizz on Christmas Morning and Guinness on Boxing Day whilst watching the football and horse racing. Baileys was replaced by a non-alcoholic Irish Coffee. The Bucks Fizz was replaced by a fancy bottle of Sparkling Elderberry and yesterday I watched the Horse Racing with my Dad and Brother whilst enjoying a 0.0% Guinness. I lie, I had two. Easy-peasy.
I’m under no illusions it isn’t always ‘easy peasy’ though. I know of others who relapsed on Christmas Eve & Day. Some are still in that relapse. Some have started their Day 1 again. There are no guarantees in recovery and there is nothing to say I wouldn’t wobble or break on a random Tuesday in mid-January. That’s why it’s so important that we live each day one at a time and embrace the now.
I’m proud of myself for having a happy, restful and sober Christmas but that is now the past along with the 300+ days of booze free living that preceded the holidays. Today is my focus. As we speak, my wife and daughters are preparing to go out this afternoon. I’ll be home alone. I’ve already decided I’m going to fill the hours with some self-care. I’ll be getting the Yoga mat out for 30 mins followed by the start of my new book I got for Christmas (‘Sunshine warm sober’ by Catherine Gray). I’m doing nothing else. No chores. No graft. Time to switch off before I return to work tomorrow.
It’s my wife’s birthday on Friday (expensive time of year for me!) so I’m looking forward to doing some family stuff. We normally head to the coast for a Winter walk and some lunch. NYE is not a big thing to us. I’ll probably be in bed by 10pm. My young girls love making a fuss of birthdays so no doubt we will have balloons up and a cake or too for Mammy!
Oh, and running. I’m loving running at the moment. Today is a rest day but since last Thursday (23rd) I’ve ran every day bar Xmas Day. The joy I get from being outdoors in all weather on my own just treading the pavements and roads is hard to top. I’ll be back out in the morning before I log into work. I hope some of you reading this who have maybe never fancied running give it a go in 2022. You don’t have to run fast, far or often but I can promise you this – if you can physically get out and do it, your body and mind will thank you. Maybe not in the moment but afterwards, once you are home, hydrated and stretched off there is very little that can beat the ‘runner’s high’