Embracing the holiday season can sometimes mean embracing alcohol with gusto… or not. Fortunately for those who choose the former, “Dry January” has caught on over the years and it’s a fantastic concept. Refreshing is an excellent way to eliminate toxins from your body and get rid of the excess bloat.
I’d like to throw out a radical idea, or should I say a radical self-care opportunity!
Imagine your holiday without alcohol.
You might gasp looking for a chair to sit down as you frantically wonder how on earth you would get through the parties, relatives, house guests, and cooking without the comfort of your old friend Chardonnay or Mr. P (Pinot Noir!)
Before you race to the fridge confirming you have enough Prosecco from the stress of the idea I just offered up, please stay with me! I’d like you to try an exercise my community members often call their favorite strategy in tweaking their relationship with alcohol.
Imagine it’s Christmas Eve. How would you feel if your decision was not to consume alcohol?
How would you feel going to bed knowing you wouldn’t be waking up at 2am for water and aspirin?
Would it feel inspiring to know the next morning would be one where perhaps you might see the sunrise or get up before everyone else to read or bake cinnamon rolls as a surprise?
How marvelous would it be not to feel hung over, exhausted, and impatient with your loved ones? It would be wonderful for your loved ones to feel calmer and more present when you converse with them.
Four hours of sleep that isn’t infused with alcohol is better than ten hours. Yes, you may be tired in the morning even if you don’t drink, but oh my goodness, how good it feels not to layer on the fogginess and headache!
Now, let’s flash forward to New Year’s Eve. Envision that instead of popping open another bottle of champagne at midnight, you created a sacred ritual for yourself and loved ones. A beautiful and energetically calm meditation space with candles, wishes written out for the new year, tea, treats, and cozy blankets.
As the clock strikes midnight your wishes for the 2022 are released to everyone and everything in the universe as you breathe with eyes closed and smiles wide.
It is possible to feel a pleasure at the sight, and you might even be sighing.
The voices in your head, however, may be slowly speaking up the concern of “But what will everyone think if I’m not drinking? They will put you on the spot, what will you say? Will the events be boring or worse yet, will I be boring? How will I handle the overwhelm and/or social anxiety without my ever-faithful wingman called alcohol?”
When someone in my community complains about certain friends or family being nosey about why they aren’t drinking, I smile and say, “it’s not about you… it’s about them.” It’s been my experience when people make the fact that you aren’t drinking “a thing,” it’s simply because something within them, consciously or subconsciously, is calling them to examine their own relationship with alcohol.
This is what I need to know. When I was young and drank a couple of glasses of wine each night, plus a few martinis on weekends, my awareness of what others were drinking was high. When someone was drinking their first glass of Chardonnay, I felt anxious.
After deciding to take a longer break from alcohol, I found it easy to relax in my Netflix nightgown and enjoy the weekends. However, it wasn’t as easy when I started to have small picnic meals with my friends.
I was thrown back into the “real world” for little bursts of time, and it was humbling. I experienced anxiety around the thought of people judging me, talking about me, wondering if I “had a problem,” and so on. It was a worry that life would turn out boring.
Unknowingly, I was unaware that the exact opposite would happen. The world and me became happier, healthier, happier and calmer. There were scripts that I could refer to in the event of being questioned about my choice of beverage.
Recently, I posted a list of responses for that awkward moment at a dinner party or event when someone says (oftentimes in front of others) “Why aren’t you drinking?” I thought my “Live More Drink Less” members would find them helpful for future use. However, the response they have used is far more valuable than my own.
It is not your obligation to answer a person’s question just because they ask you. It is not necessary to tell someone what you do for your body, mind and soul.
Here are some funny comebacks for those who aren’t into mojitos or mocktails.
1. It makes me drowsy, and I don’t want to fall asleep in your arms right now.
2. I’m driving.
3. Alcohol is just not something I am attracted to at the moment because it wakes me up at 2am with a dry mouth and headache.
4. I’m doing a self-care program and it includes the release of alcohol, and I don’t want a hangover stealing my joy tomorrow.
5. This fuels anxiety and takes away my peace.
6. It’s my favorite thing to do is get up at dawn to catch the first glimpse of the sun.
7. It’s more fun for me to create alcohol-free memories.
8. “Wine Face” is not my friend. Also known as: dark circles under your eyes, puffy eyes, bloodshot eye, and other things.
9. How I feel on Sunday mornings determines how Saturday nights go.
10. Because… I… Am… Not… but thanks for asking, Nosey Posey
If, at this moment, you are feeling inspired to do a hangover-free holiday, that’s your soul speaking to you. Do you want to hear?
Taking a break is not about taking anything away but instead putting so much more into your life. A short, but effective, break from alcohol can have a positive ripple effect on your happiness, health, and overall well-being.
Meg Daly is an ICF certified coach, blogger, creator of the “Tranquility Talk” podcast, the Live More Drink Less community, and The 30 Day Reset for people ready to experiment with reevaluating their relationship with alcohol. You can download her “Happy Hour Survival Guide” here.
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