10th Day of Christmas: A Very Sober Christmas
In October of this year, I was advised by a doctor to stop drinking alcohol for 6 months, or maybe forever (woohoo- the joys!) I’m not going to go into the details of why here because it’s kind of boring but it’s basically just because I become very ill (think food poisoning symptoms) after a minimal amount of alcohol (I have been known to throw up for 2 days after 2 ciders, it’s extremely inconvenient). So 6 months off is either going to let my body re-build it’s tolerance up so I am OK to drink forever, or I am just going to have no tolerance to alcohol ever and never be able to drink alcohol again. Basically- I’ve become the biggest lightweight known to man.
When I’ve told people that I can’t drink at the moment, many of the responses are ‘But what about Christmas? Are you actually not going to drink all Christmas?’ People are generally baffled by the fact that I’m going to spend the festive period sober. This is probably because for about 4 years of my life I used to get very drunk every weekend without question, which is actually the reasons to why I can’t drink now but like I said, I’m not going into it here. But I also think it’s also because Christmas is a time of the year that is very much associated with alcohol. Last night was supposedly the biggest night out of the year, prosecco on Christmas day is near enough mandatory and also part of the festive season is New Year’s Eve, another night which is very much alcohol-focused.
However, I’m not really as intimidated as other people are at the prospect of not drinking alcohol this Christmas. I mean, I’d rather not spend the holiday period with my head over the toilet so there’s a lot of incentive not to drink. Plus, Christmas is also the time of year where nights in watching Christmas films and having an early night are encouraged maybe just as much as going out, so there’s that.
I’ve also managed to (kind of) get through 2 months of being a student and living in one of the most highly-populated student areas in the UK without drinking alcohol and perhaps the only thing that is associated with alcohol more than Christmas is student life. So if I’ve done that, I think I can stay sober through anything!
I don’t really know how I feel about not being able to drink alcohol at the moment. I haven’t hated it but I haven’t loved it. In all honesty, I haven’t noticed much of a difference to my life. I’ve had a lot of nights in but nights out haven’t really been an option over the last 2 months anyway because I’ve been so busy during the days that the only way I want to spend my evenings is passed out on the couch. The worst thing about not drinking alcohol isn’t actually the not being drunk part anyway, it’s all the unwanted attention I get from people who are interested in why I’m not drinking which never fails to make me super uncomfortable.
I’m not even particularly looking forward to March when I can ‘officially’ try to start drinking again. I think this is partly because I’m skeptical as to whether anything will have changed in the way that my body reacts to alcohol but also because I no longer enjoy nights out like I used to (here I go again…19 going on 90). I think I enjoy quieter nights, going out for food, to the cinema or just nights with friends that end with me in bed by 1am much more nowadays. It’d still be nice to be able to have a few drinks every now and then without being horribly ill but I don’t have a huge desire to get really drunk.
This has nothing to do with why I’ve stopped drinking but being drunk, and especially having a hangover, really does trigger my anxiety. Many of my worst panic attacks have happened when I’ve been drunk or the morning after, so I think this is another reason as to why I’m not overly nostalgic about drinking alcohol.
Overall, I feel fine about having a sober Christmas. I have a new found love for Coca Cola (hence me holding a can of it in all these photos as if I’m sponsored by the brand) which, believe it or not, I didn’t really used to like! Plus, not drinking leaves more room for food, so hopefully I can beat my own record of how much chocolate and crisps I can inhale over the period between Christmas Eve and New Years Day.
Let me know if you’d like more content on how I’m finding not drinking, particularly on how I find it as a university student. I’d also be super interested to hear about your relationship with alcohol, especially over the festive period. Let me know in the comments or on social media! I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a post on my favourite Christmas traditions.