Audio: Celebrations

This is Sober Podcast Episode #173 for my weekly sober podcast series.

Thanks to rosalita for today’s question.

Is it possible to celebrate without alcohol? what about ‘raising a toast’ – what about acknowledging hard work? what about good days and bad days and any other reason your brain thinks that drinking might be a good idea?

Below i’ve posted a 3-minute extract from this longer audio (the complete podcast is about 15 minutes long).

You can listen to this extract now 🙂 And leave a comment – what do you hear in this audio? Can you rephrase it in your own words? hugs from me


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I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I hear that we could possibly try to go back and remember what it was like to celebrate etc as a child, no alcohol there! Just pure enjoyment and excitement that wasn’t anaesthetised by booze. Kids still enjoy events and parties and being with friends and family, no alcohol
    Needed. I’m avoiding gatherings and certain people
    As I’m only in early sobriety and I’ve learnt already from you Belle that this is perfectly ok to do.

  • i hear someone who was stuck on the superhighway and needed to find an exit that would take her to a grass field where she can walk around and make her own damn path

  • *gentle smile* This is the first time I’ve listened to your podcast. I skim read your emails (I keep getting sucked into reading, but my ambivalent brain – the protector of Wolfie – keeps saying keep going move to next). Then I received a letter I didn’t expect. And today I hear your voice and for the first time I indulge power of podcasts. You’re a real person. If you can do it, so can I.

  • We get FOMO about alcohol but it’s the alcohol that makes us miss out. If you are tired and cranky and mad at yourself on Christmas morning, you will miss the expression on a dear one’s face when they realize they’ve just received a present that they love. You will miss the anticipation of the day, the treasure of every moment of being together and not having school or work. Instead you will be dreading the whole thing, wishing everybody would go off to school or work. If you have FOMO, not drinking is the solution.

  • The idea that alcohol is needed to make good or bad experiences better is wolfie talking. By exercising my AF muscle wolfie gets quieter and everything becomes easier.

  • “It’s not logical “ “It just isn’t true”
    Wolfie, aided and abetted by alcohol companies to make vast profits from our misery, tells lies.
    This struck me with such force today. I am celebrating on my terms not their’s and my terms are sobriety first and foremost and being 100% present.

  • Thank you for that!
    It’s so true why would you want to numb a really lovely day! It’s strange how your brain works but you are right, the only way you can change it is to create new traditions which will take time and effort to change how your brain works. Thank you . Merry Christmas to you x

  • Thing get easier with practise – the more you do something – i.e. attend a celebration sober the easier it becomes and the less self -conscious you feel about it. Oh and nobody notices or cares what is in your glass that you are toasting with. It’s about being present and enjoying the moment with those you are celebrating with. 😊.

  • I used to dread celebrations, weekends with girlfriends, New Year’s Eve, and so on because how would I get home because I couldn’t drive and taxis are hard to find & expensive and how could I get by without everyone noticing how much I was drinking and how would I make sure I got enough alcohol and how would I manage the hangovers. It was so hard! Now 2.5 years on, the penny has finally dropped (I’m a slow learner, lol). Celebrations are so much frigging easier without the booze. And I never knew. Thanks Belle.

  • There are many tasty things to put in your celebratory glass other than alcohol. No need for alcohol on happy or sad occasions as it is not going to help you be present, clear minded, and able to cope with the emotions of the moment. Build your sobriety muscles by testing them out and practicing one sober event at a time. Celebrate your AF life! Thanks Belle!

  • We strengthen the muscle of sobriety every time we choose not to drink. It gets easier and easier with repetition.

  • Right, the same brain that tells you, you need a drink to celebrate, tells you, you need a drink when things go wrong. Wrong on both counts but be gentle with yourself and don’t throw yourself into the fray without some tools and practice.

  • I liked what you said about muscle memory. It is like that. You get a few sober “events” under your belt and you see that most of your fears are all in your mind. You what if a situation to the point of anxiety. Thanks Belle 🙂

  • What stood out to me today is the fact that it’s not even possible to *truly* celebrate something when you are numbed out from alcohol. The question of whether Christmas morning would be improved when sloshed is such a great example.

  • Good topic to discuss as I find events involving alcohol and drinkers the most difficult. I am trying to retrain my brain to think of these occasions in a completely different way. It’s very difficult after years of drinking at all social events to not have alcohol, but I am doing it and I guess every time I attend an occasion and remain sober it gets easier. I hope.

  • This time 2 years ago I was 52 days sober, I hadn’t intended going the 100 days, I had started with a dry November, but I knew in my heart and soul that I felt better without the booze. I hadn’t had a dry Christmas since my last pregnancy 22 years previously and was a bit weary of it. Somehow or other Belles voice got into my brain and I decided that I wouldn’t ruin my momentum by drinking at Christmas. I would try different, I would try sober and make it to the new year having successfully stayed on course, no regrets, no restart, no drinking, chick safe. Do you know what – Christmas was fab as was the following one. Today I know I won’t drink this year and I won’t miss out on any part of the 12 days, I will greet 2023 sober, bright and full of potential. Thanks Belle xx

  • I really needed this tonight thanks Belle. You have reminded me how dumb it is to think anaesthetising myself with drink would make a better celebration. Need to hold on to this mindset and relisten if I waiver.

  • My version: it’s not necessary to use alcohol for happy events, it only dulls the happiness and risks a angry hangover. I once heard a famous actress mention that she never drank on vacation saying “what reason do you have to drink when you are doing something you truly enjoy?”