If this is your first year down the no-drinking road, it can be an uphill climb. Nevermind the stress of the holidays driving even the most sane person to drink, but the atmosphere alone is enough to welcome a sober alcoholic back to failure.
March 3 will be Rocky's 1 year sober anniversary - which means last Christmas he was drunk. Being with an alcoholic means planning for being let down. Last year I saved all of the Christmas wrapping for Christmas Eve. I figured we could light a fire, turn on some Christmas music, enjoy the lights of our tree, and get to wrapping! For one, I don't know what I was thinking in the first place because we threw Christmas Eve dinner for our in-laws at the house. It was our first time cooking a turkey in our new house with our very old oven, and needless to say - the turkey never finished cooking. Rocky's mom's boyfriend (did you follow that?) is also an alcoholic. So the boys were getting pretty tipsy. The boyfriend even melted my digital thermometer by leaving it IN the turkey while it was still cooking. See, it's his fault I rarely eat meat anymore!! J/K.
Needless to say, Rocky drank too much, dinner ended WAY late, and I ended up wrapping presents at the kitchen table by myself, AND helping the kids to unwrap presents in the morning because someone was still very hung over.
So...how do you survive the holidays with an alcoholic?
Avoid The Party
If it's within their first 90 days of being sober - I say stay away from Christmas parties and social occasions where the need to drink will be at an all time high. If you have an understanding family, ask them not to drink. You can provide non-alcoholic options, much like plant-based eaters offering to bring meatless/dairy less alternatives. However, I find the path of non-alcoholic beverages (like O'douls, or virgin margaritas) to be very tricky. Remember, alcoholic's drink to get drunk, not too sip and enjoy. Opening the door of a familiar flavor but not providing the familiar "buzz" can push an alcoholic to breaking.
Throw Your Own Party
Host a party at your house and kindly (via a phone call) tell everyone "please no booze." It's your house after all. Just don't be upset when Great Uncle Joe complains. Remember, tongue-biting is a practiced tradition of the holidays!
When Uncle Joe does wield that snide remark about a sober Christmas, have some grace and smile! You can't expect everyone to understand your needs, BUT you can expect them to RESPECT it. It's your life, your spouse, your family.
So how are Rocky and I enjoying the holidays? 9 months into sobriety, Rocky is feeling pretty strong this Christmas. He's going into it knowing he won't drink and without temptation. His family has known for a while now he's sober, so they really don't throw it in his face anymore. And that boyfriend of his mom's that melted my thermometer in a drunken stupor - well he's getting the Big Book wrapped up in some shiny Christmas paper and topped with a bow.
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