Day 15: Surviving A Holiday Sober

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace, which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7

I caught myself worrying yesterday about how the day would go and where my sobriety would stand after it was over. It’s no wonder, considering that it was Thanksgiving and just like most holidays, it’s a prime time for being surrounded by friends and/or family imbibing, even those who might not normally do so. My husband and I had plans to spend the day with his parents and siblings and their significant others. How would I handle trying to be social and keep my cool, while being surrounded by temptation?

I took deep breath as the anxiety poured in. I began to bargain with myself that it wouldn’t be a big deal to have a glass of wine with everyone. After all, it’s a holiday. One won’t hurt! I began to feel frustrated that that voice I know so well that’s brought me to the place of giving in so many countless times before was starting to shift my stronghold, un-surprisingly. .

I thought what can I do to take care of myself before I go to this gathering and get my head in the right space for staying strong? I decided that going for a jog and bringing my Bible and my gratitude journal with me to have a few minutes for reflection of reading, praying and writing after exercising would be a good remedy to try to reset my brain.

A mile in 20 minutes through a hilly trail in the woods; a slow jog, but a jog nonetheless and it felt good to break a sweat and get my body moving. My mind did feel so much more settled when I returned to the car. I sat and read my daily devotionals. The verse at the beginning of my post from Philippians in particular gave me encouragement and even more of a peace of mind. I jotted down a few things in my journal. I’m grateful for my two weeks of sobriety, that I had family to go spend a holiday with when so many people would be spending theirs alone, that we had been able to fix up my car after a deer broke a mirror and the windshield and being grateful it hadn’t hurt me or my daughter or totaled the car.

I know it won’t always be free of complication to battle my anxieties and urges and it won’t always work to exercise, read scripture or get my gratefulness down on paper. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and see what works or at least takes the edge off enough to muck through the emotions without giving in. At least in this instance, I felt a renewed sense of power and confidence in what lay before me to accomplish.

I was thinking about drinking and having a cig a lot while we were at the gathering, particularly because there were people doing both. I was offered a beverage a couple of times but I stuck with my seltzer waters and had a coffee after dinner. I tried to stay inside a little more around some family members who don’t really drink or smoke and just focus on having some good conversation and sit and play with my daughter and it was a nice time, despite the bit of nagging I was hearing in my ear to join in, trying to tell me I was missing out on something.

It was different to not give in to my typical habits and there were moments I felt a little detached/foggy-brained from the rest of the group and activities, when normally alcohol would’ve had me being a bit more lively, boisterous, talkative. Sitting in my sober skin with people felt a bit awkward, but I also appreciated having a certain type of sober awareness of my surroundings in a way that I don’t normally feel.

On the way home, it felt so good to be sober. My daughter noticed the moon, almost full, bright in the sky and she happily babbled and pointed to it, fixated on it, even as I turned a different direction and it moved to another window – she never lost track of it. She even began to imitate me as I repeated moon over and over. It was a joyful moment shared and not one I’m sure I’d have had, if I had had a few there. I’m sure my mind would’ve most likely been fixated on just getting home, getting her to bed as quick as possible so I could continue my drinking session. The reason I’m on this sober mama journey is so I don’t lose track of those things that are the most important in my life, like these beautiful fleeting moments where I witness my child in her element of wonder at the world around her.

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