Glass of rose wine next to roses

Don’t Drink In December Challenge: Sober Update

Hello everyone! Okay, first of all, I need to write more. I always intend on writing and have SO MUCH TO SHARE, but it seems sometimes there is just not enough time in the day.

In the beginning of December I vowed to myself that I would not drink any type of alcohol at all this month. I had been toying with the idea for quite a while, but decided I needed to do it. Then I formally announced it in my post Don’t Drink In December Challenge. I have gotten so much support from all of my fellow bloggers and I am so thankful for that. You guys are a true inspiration, and have already helped me along. 🙂

It is definitely time for an update. I wanted to let everyone know that I have stuck to my word, and have not drank any alcohol. I am stone cold SOBER 24/7 anxiety or not.

The Biggest Obstacles So Far

So far, my biggest obstacles have been anxiety and sadness. My anxiety is tricky though, because although it acts up from time to time, it seems to have lessened since I stopped drinking. At the very least it is more manageable. For some reason, Monday morning anxiety is still very much a thing! Like what?  I always blamed that on the alcohol, but apparently not… 

The very first weekend after I announced my month of sobriety was full with bouts of anxiety, happiness and sadness. Whew… The anxiety was brought on mostly by nothing going to plan, and teens being… whatever they’re being.

Through the roller coaster of emotions that weekend I managed to get our Christmas tree up and decorated, attend a birthday party and bake banana bread and banana nut bread with the kids. (More on this in another post. It was very entertaining.)

Two loaves of Banana Nut Bread on glass cutting board
Fresh Baked Banana Nut Bread

The sadness came into play on Sunday when we went into Jamestown for a shopping trip. As many of you know, my mom passed away earlier this year, and it has been extremely hard. We were looking around the store for ideas for Christmas gifts, and looking at decorations. I started to tear up and cry. I didn’t make a big scene, but I couldn’t help thinking of my mom while doing this. My mom absolutely loved Christmas, and always did her best to make sure we had a good Christmas. I was instantly flooded with memories. I miss her so much, and just couldn’t help myself. This year will definitely be different. 

In case you missed the story on my moms passing, you can find it here: A Mother’s Love is Immortal, Even Though She Isn’t

I think Bubs was able to sense that I was crying to myself. He quickly steered us away from that section, and distracted me while making funny jokes. (I love him!) We went through the toy section, on to electronics, then made our way over to clothes. We didn’t plan on doing any Christmas shopping while we were there, but we did. SCORE!!!

The best thing about this experience was that I couldn’t blame those feelings of suddenly being overtaken by sadness on a hangover, or anything alcohol related. It was very real, very raw and very present.

The following week, we also had to attend a funeral for Bubs uncle. I didn’t know him well, but it was still hard. I just sat there and absorbed the energy of all those around me. Not to mention he passed away from the same thing my mom did. At the end of the service they honored his military service. I haven’t been to a military funeral since I was in the military. For others that were there, it was their first experience in witnessing a military funeral.

Deep breaths…

This past weekend wasn’t nearly as exciting. All I did was work and clean… Literally. I did get to enjoy some time to myself, though. Once all my household chores were done, I plopped onto the couch with my festive tea cup and just enjoyed the Christmas Tree lit up and the (electric) fireplace burning. I have always enjoyed lit Christmas Trees, and the ambiance it gives off. Sitting in front of the tree and fireplace, I can’t help but to feel a sense of calmness and peace.

Eat Drink and Be Merry Tea Cup with Christmas Tree in background
My favorite festive tea cup

Benefits I’m experiencing and Lessons I’m Learning While Being Alcohol Free

Everyone of course has their own benefits and lessons learned while quitting any addiction or bad habit. While I’m only just barely into my third consecutive week there are things that are definitely worth noting. The very first of those things is that I’m knowingly changing my mindset. I am choosing to change my relationship with, and how I view, alcohol. Without further ado, here are the benefits I personally have been experiencing.

  1. I am present, I am more aware and observant to what is going on around me. 
  2. No weekend hangovers!! Sometimes I still wake up with headaches oddly, but I know for a fact it’s not from alcohol. 
  3. I don’t have anxiety about things I have said or done while drinking.
  4. Speaking of anxiety… As I mentioned, bouts of anxiety are still VERY REAL. Even when it seemingly shows up for no apparent reason. It is however, more controllable and not as often. 
  5. I am learning new methods to cope with anxiety. I am meditating a lot more, and it is oh so helpful! Also, I have always been a tea drinker, but I have been drinking a lot more tea. Kava and Chamomile both work wonders for anxiety! 
  6. I am overall happier
  7. I am overall more patient
  8. I have lost those pesky pounds I put on over Thanksgiving (from Turkey, fixins’ and Wine)
  9. I sleep a lot better at night, and wake up feeling peaceful and rested. 
  10. My skin isn’t as dry, and the eczema on my face is about 98% healed. I credit this to a few different things. Staying away from alcohol, staying away from other foods I am allergic to (eggs and dairy), and my homemade eczema cream. 
  11. My emotions are real and raw, and I can’t blame any of them on alcohol. Nor can anyone else for that matter.

Those are just a few benefits off the top of my head, but I am extremely happy with my choice. I find myself thinking about drinking only every so often. When I do start thinking about having that glass of wine, I counteract it with thoughts of nasty hangovers and how wine can start to taste very syrupy with cottonmouth at times. (To me anyway)

So far it has been fairly easy, but I haven’t attended any holiday gatherings or parties yet. The very first one will be this weekend. We have the in-laws Christmas gathering. Eeeeekkkkkk. That group is a handful to say the least. LOL. However this one will probably have very little alcohol if any, so that is one obstacle that should be fairly easy. The hardest will be when we go to my brothers house for their holiday gathering.

Also, I found out that our work holiday party (the one being held at a bar) will be held in January. I have not decided if I will drink at that party or not… That will be the truest test. Hmmmmm. To be determined.

How are my fellow sober friends doing this holiday season? Anyone out there in their early days of sobriety such as myself? Let me know in the comments what you do to navigate the holiday parties, I could use the advice! Favorite Mocktails?

9 thoughts on “Don’t Drink In December Challenge: Sober Update

  1. Hi Amy,

    Great post, sounds like you are doing really really well ! I’m really sorry about you feeling sad and missing your mom around this season. It can be a real tough one. You can be really proud of yourself of facing all of your emotions including the unpleasant ones head on ! I know I felt very anxious and sad during the few first weeks. A few more down the road and everything feels a lot more manageable. Keep going you’re doing great, and good luck at your brother’s house 🙂 Sending hugs ! xx Anne

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey Amy – great work you’re doing! I’m learning in social situations to have an exit plan. For me, after a couple hours I pretty much start losing energy and need to vacate. I realize this is a bit tougher at family gatherings compared to office parties. Hopefully in the future my 2 hour window will grow but for now I’m okay with it. Love how you’re exploring this sober option.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think having to sit with your emotions instead of anesthetizing yourself with alcohol may be one of the hardest things! But it seems like the right thing to do in the long run for good mental health. And they do pass! I go to bed early with a book if I need to, and it helps. Well done! My understanding from others is that the benefits increase exponentially the longer you go without drinking. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is hard to sit with your feelings. I think that may be why so many of us start drinking in the first place. For others it may be other substances. I am loving that although I feel the sadness and anxiety, it somehow makes me feel more at peace with myself.

      I am really considering your 100 day challenge idea. I will let you know for sure! I am honestly enjoying being AF. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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