Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Coping With Christmas Sober (Part 4)

Only two more Big Sleeps. We are nearly there!

If you find yourself battling with the Wine Witch over the next few days, and she's saying things like go on, just have the one - it's Christmas! Let your hair down. Start again tomorrow, then please read (or re-read) this post:

The Obstacle Course

Of all the 238 posts I've written, it's the one that gets shared the most in times of trouble...

So, today I'm going shopping. Merry Christmas to Me!

I believe that many of us are really bad at doing nice things for ourselves. After years of boozing away all our self respect, we just don't think we deserve it. We feel so guilty about drinking that we try to make up for it by being as selfless as possible in all other respects.


But, listen up! Now you really do deserve to do something good for yourself.

You are doing a really hard thing, but one that's changing your life, and those around you in miraculous ways. Plus, you have saved a huge amount of money.

You're going through one of the toughest times of the year to stay sober. You've spent weeks buying and doing things for other people. And, in most shops, it's the Sales already. You'd be practically saving money!

Also, drinking only leaves you with an empty wallet, regrets and a hangover. Shopping leaves you with something special that will always remind you of your first sober Christmas.

And here's a secret: shopping gives you a serotonin rush, and we miss those, don't we? (N.B. this also makes it addictive, so watch out!)

Here are a few ideas of some good presents to buy your newly sober self:

1. Anything in cashmere. Something so soft against your skin always makes you feel better. But cashmere's expensive, so how about some teeny weeny cashmere bed socks? The White Company do gorgeous ones. On sale now.

2. Books. Reading everything and anything drink related got me through the first few months. My favourite self help manual: Jason Vale (Kick the Drink, Easily), memoir: Caroline Knapp's Drinking: A Love Story, favourite novel featuring an alcoholic: Paula Hawkins's Girl on the Train.

3. New pyjamas. You know it makes sense.

4. A Nutribullet (or other juicer). I've just discovered these. They are awesome. After decades of drinking poison, I'm now drinking eight portions of fruit and veg a day.

5. Something for the bath. If you want to really treat yourself, look up Aromatherapy Associates online. I'm totally addicted to their bath and shower oil called Inner Strength.

It was designed by the owner when she was diagnosed with cancer to get her through treatment, physically and emotionally. It's miraculous (but not cheap). Use sparingly.

6. Theatre tickets. If you have a celebration coming up (100 days sober? a birthday?) why not book theatre tickets?

Hardly anyone drinks while watching a play, plus the queues for the bar and the loo are horrendous, so you feel really smug if you can avoid them. It's a great way to celebrate. If that's too pricey, do the cinema instead - same principle!

7. New trainers. Nothing better than the latest Nike's to convince yourself to take up running (or similar) in the New Year....

8. New a slightly smaller size. If you haven't already shrunk, you will. Give it 100 days and then watch it gradually fall off ;-) (see my post: Stop Drinking, Lose Weight?)

9. Something sweet and indulgent. Luxury hot chocolate? Cake? Truffles?

10. A puppy. I know they're for life, not just for Christmas, and you have to be really committed to staying sober to take one on, but I do believe that dogs are a sober girl's best friend (see my post here).

They keep you smiling, take your mind off the WW, get you outside every day, and give you unconditional love and support. Why not find one from your local shelter who's had a bad start in life and needs a break?

Please add any of your own suggestions in the comments below!

Merry Christmas to you all, and Happy Shopping!

Love SM x


  1. That Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength is the Holy Grail of All Things. Mine has run out, which explains a lot... Only Day 2 here, but your post made me laugh, and I also went back and reread your Obstacle Course post which is so scarily close to my situation, it made me want to cry (after I'd finished laughing). Crawling along here, but crawling forward, and am glad you're here. Annie x

  2. Shoes! You forgot shoes. Nice heels or flats or leopard heels. Or tall over the knee boots.

    1. OMG you're right! How stupid of me ;-)

  3. I don't want to be controversial, but alcohol free wine is helping me at the mo. I didn't dabble for a long while, but now love a glass of de-alcoholised (their words not mine!) Fre! Both the red and white are good. Thankfully they don't do a 'Fre' Sauvignon blanc (that might just push me to the dark side). It's less than 0.5% alcohol. I did worry that even that miniscule amount might be too much to handle! But it's just filled a gap for me. I've even thought of doing an AF mulled wine! Spiced apple just doesn't float my boat. So pleased you are at the end of radiotherapy! Hope you had fun shopping! LNM x

    1. I'm going to try that AF wine with Xmas lunch LNM. I would never have got this far without AF beer, and it hasn't knocked me off the waggon yet....

    2. I Find the de-alc bubbly very helpful too, especially at this time of year. When I looked into the whole 0.5% business, apparently a glass of fresh orange juice can contain around 0.5% too...

    3. Was wondering if the Fre was worth a shit, it's all I can find and I have a bottle lurking in my hutch. I was thinking about doing an AF sangria with it.

    4. Mmm. Maybe if I combine the AF bubbly with the orange juice I can get drunk ;-)

    5. Silver birch you are a genius! I don't think twice about cracking open a fresh orange juice. x

    6. I just need to find an AF baileys and my life will be complete ;-)

    7. Here's a wee article about low alc drinks :)

    8. You've made my day, SB! I checked out your article, and it says AF beer contains b vitamins, potassium, folic acid and antioxidants. Co-incidentally, all good things for the newly sober to stock up on (b vits fight PAWS) and cancer busting. Now I love my Becks Blue even more! Xx

    9. Yes isn't it great that they're even good for you! I'm all stocked up - cheers! Xx

  4. When my savings have kicked in, in the dark days of January, I am SO going shopping. Mind you, who am I kidding? I think I've saved about £25 already (day two). Hotel Chocolat won't know what's hit them at this rate. I'd better dust off the new Asics I got for my birthday in June ;-) Red xx

  5. Merry Xmas, SM! Hope it's a good one:) I'm going to take my "Christmas money" and buy some lovely boots at the after xmas sales.

  6. SM you rock! I'm still right behind you! Can you believe us?!
    So happy your happy! We are happy! We are sober! And keep on coming up with activities and things to spend our hard earned money on instead of wine!
    Naples Strong, Naples Sober