Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Let's Put the "Fun" back into Dys-fun-ctional...

Ah, family. They can really fuck you up.

Especially around Christmas time.

I'm reading so many blogs where the main worries are :

  • How to explain that, yes, even at Christmas time you're not having "just one" drink.
  • How to do practical things like remove all the alcohol from your house, and still be a gracious host/hostess
  • How to deal with the stress of a gathering of people who have little in common except DNA or marriage, without the numbing effects of alcohol.

The fact is, it's easier to deal with social gatherings, if you are not emotionally connected with the people. At work functions, there are a myriad of reasons why you are sober, and there is no real pressure to explain.

When you are in your own home or at in-laws, and the expectation is that Christmas will be exactly the same as every other year, it's harder to say "I'm not drinking" without all the awkward questions. Friends or colleagues may just raise an eyebrow, and be too polite to ask probing questions....but your mum doesn't have the boundary of politeness.

Your concern may be that you are "worrying" people. That they will be concerned. And you might feel that it's not fair to do this at Christmas.

You may be worried about pressure, or sabotage.

You may be worried that you are the dysfunctional member of the family who is fucking up the whole proceedings by choosing not to drink a particular beverage.

Maybe take a second to read that last sentence.

Because that is what is all boils down to. You are just choosing to drink a different beverage.

You know what IS dysfunctional?

  • "pretending" to drink wine.
  • Giving up your sobriety to make other people - people who are supposed to love you - feel 'better"
  • Buying a shitload of alcohol that will be left over and will serve as a "trigger", in the week after Christmas
  • Thinking that the "next" social gathering will be easier....there is always a birthday, a anniversary, a celebration that will be "important" and therefore you should push your own sobriety to one side, so that you won't "upset" other people 
Here's what I am doing:

  • Buying some NA beverages like sparkling fake wine/Champagne and NA beer.
  • Having zero alcohol in the house apart from one bottle of whisky (husband's) that will remain in the cupboard (not a trigger for me)
  • Telling my family members that all they need to bring is what they want to drink.
  • Making sure they take leftovers away with them
  • Being "firm" that being sober makes me happy, keeps me healthy, and if they really do care about me....don't they want me to be happy and healthy?
  • If there is ANY concern, reassuring family members that the concern is misplaced, because life is SO MUCH BETTER when I am not drinking

Remember waking up at 3.00am in the morning, after a blackout the night before, Christmas Day as a blur, the house a mess....feeling full of shame and self-loathing? Remember trying to navigate Boxing Day, with a head that feels like a lump of lead being pounded by a hammer, trying to stuff down carbs and water to quell the acid in your stomach?
Do you really want to feel like that because you were worried that Auntie Betty would be offended if you didn't drink a glass of champagne? Or that you didn't want your sister in law to think you have a problem? (which you do).

That's dysfunctional.

Have a happy, sober Christmas,


In a homage to Star Wars, I wrote this blog "There is no TRY" 


  1. I am hosting a New Years Party with our close couple friends who all drink.
    I did this last year, too.
    I have them bring their own alcohol, and take the extra home.
    Or I have hubs dump it out.
    It is SO nice not to have a sweaty hangover.

    1. Yes it is! I am glad for that every day.

  2. I love honest posts. Because it's all true.
    If you are worried to the point of anxiety over drinking or not drinking at Christmas, so you can spend time with your kids and open presents, you have a problem.

    I know I had a problem. And I remember those ill, shame filled Christmases with horror. What person who even likes me would want me to feel that way?

    I know, we all hose it. But so,etimes just telling others it's making us feel bad and we are giving a go at doing without booze is enough to gain both support and respect.

  3. I hope people will read this and re-read this. Because this post whips us all into shape. Thank you for making this point. Very timely!

  4. I love this post, as you've just addressed (and blasted) a whole load of my silly worries about Christmas. I'm only on day 2 myself, but I've been reading your blog all year. It has helped! Thankyou. Red xx

    1. Thanks for reading, and good for you, have a Happy Sober Christmas xx

  5. Thank you. Yes. I will be the one fucking up the proceedings this year. WITH MUCH GLEE. I may smirk impishly, who can say? "giving up your sobriety to make other people happy". OMG, lots of this going on. Shit needs to stop:) I hope you have a nice xmas, Jackie!