If you've been trying to cut back on drinking, you may have noticed that holidays present extra challenge in this area.
Many of us experience difficulty through the holidays, which can feel like a set-up to reach for a drink. While others of us are having a grand ol' time celebrating, and drinking alcoholic beverages can be a big part of it!
If you're interested in using the holidays this year as an opportunity to simply get curious, we welcome you to explore the range of feelings and desires with compassion.
First, what's your intention? Perhaps take two minutes now to ask yourself if you already know how much alcohol you intend to consume over the next three weeks. If you feel some resistance to this, maybe that's something to get more curious and kind about.
Next, think ahead to times when you think this intention might be challenged. Can you identify the places and times this could go awry?
Finally, make a plan. Once we're in the situation, it can be very challenging to not continue with the habitual behavior. So, how can you intercede ahead of time, while you're not feeling that strong pull? It can be really helpful to make a plan, even if it's an imperfect one!
Some ideas for making a plan could include:
Gather with people during less-likely drinking times/activities. Gathering for breakfast, lunch, or for a walk can reduce likelihood of drinking.
Plan to bring/have non-alcoholic beverages you're excited about. Many restaurants and bars serve great mocktails and non-alcoholic beer. All of the major groceries now have a selection of n.a. beer. If you're a beer drinker like me, you'll find that Athletic Brewing is widely available and excellent in variety and quality (I love the hazy ipa). Their mail order options are particularly exciting. Here's New York Times list of great non-alcoholic wines.
Some of us do better with drinks that aren't like alcoholic drinks, and for you I'd recommend doing things with strong-flavored herbal teas that you enjoy. You can brew them strong & then once cool, mix with fizzy water for a fun, satisfying drink. Some of my favorites include: Trader Joe's 100% Ginger, Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer & Bengal Spice; and any of the Ginger/Turmeric teas - they're all good!
Have an accountability partner. If you really want to up your sober-curious game, have someone you can discuss these issues with. This doesn't mean that you're reporting a pass-fail grade, but rather someone with whom you can discuss your thoughts and how your strategies are going. Someone with whom you can reflect your curiosities about your temptations, where and when you drink more than you intended. This increases your awareness and normalizes discussion about pushing back on something that is so pervasive in our culture.
Want to learn about being sober-curious and how yoga, self-compassion and awareness practices can support the process? Check out info on E.B.'s series here.