It is holiday party season. The good news is that sober holiday seasons get easier with practice for most of us. We feel less awkward and self-conscious, and feel great about our sober choices.
I hear a lot of newly sober people concerned about what people will think of them if they don’t drink at holiday functions. Truthfully, all the work we do in the Seventh Step to understand humility and get a piece of it rewards handsomely during holiday season because we stop thinking everyone is worrying about what we’re doing, drinking, thinking. We are no longer the piece of shit at the center of the universe, as the saying goes. All the work we do in the 4th Step, which shows us how truly self-centered we are by nature, also helps us understand that most people are, similarly, too busy thinking about themselves to spend their energy contemplating our abstaining. Anyway, would you rather look like this guy?
If anyone is obsessed with getting you drunk, bring them to a meeting. Or just stay away from them. They surely have a problem.
Also, over time, we learn how to turn down invitations to events that aren’t of innate interest to us without drinking or drugging. We have a deep sense of our right to choose what’s right for us, whether it means missing an event or leaving early. It is true that, if we stop people pleasing, people may be less pleased. But that doesn’t take away our right to do what makes us feel comfortable and healthy. And, I for one, don’t believe I need to prove anything to myself or anyone else by going to active events I’m not interested in.
So, here are my bottom line tips (after 25 consecutive sober/clean holiday seasons):
— If you’re uncomfortable, remove yourself — you have a choice today
— “No” is a full sentence
— You don’t have to come up with an explanation as to why you’re not drinking. “No thank you” works. Period.
— Make a lot of meetings and surround yourself with people who are on a positive path like yours.
Enjoy your holidays! The war is over!