This year I will stop …

As part of your re-engage with sobriety campaign, today we’re going to talk about things to STOP doing.

you know that overwhelm is something to avoid. at the risk of being a pretentious shit, let me quote from my own book (says every pretentious shit, ever):

(page 88): Your job is to reduce overwhelm. All around you, there are lists of things to do and when you first quit drinking you are going to take it easy. You will shower once a day, try not to get fired, and skip everything else.
Thinking that you need to push or force yourself to do things is a holdover from your drinking time, when you were hungover and you made yourself do things to prove that you didn’t have a problem. You wanted to make yourself look normal. You took on more than you could reasonably do, so that you looked high-functioning, so that nobody knew how much you were drinking, and so no one could detect how you felt about yourself.

For today, I would like you to put a comment on this blog post of something that you are NOT going to do as part of your Christmas/Holiday celebrations this year. You’re going to make 3 kinds of cookies instead of 10. You’re going to skip midnight mass and go in the morning. You’ll do ‘christmas mugs’ instead of ‘stockings’. You’ll order chinese food on christmas eve (my mother used to do this!).

We’re always looking to ADD new traditions to our holiday season, but for today, i want you to consider what you can give up, in order to help you feel less overwhelmed. You don’t have to be clever or original, you just have to be real. If you can’t think of anything, then copy this: “to help myself avoid overwhelm – which is a boozer’s biggest trigger – i’m going to skip making Christmas Eve dinner and have pancakes instead.”

My blog allows anonymous comments, so you don’t have to fill in your name/email address if you don’t want to.

And to bribe you to participate, to support your sobriety, and encourage you to speak up, I will RANDOMLY select ONE comment from this blog post about 24 hrs from now, and that person will receive a sober toolkit bracelet bracelet for free.

hugs, me


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 am going to allow myself to say no to all social engagements this year. Vegetate with Netflix. I am only on day 2 and so even if it means staying in, I am putting sobriety first.

  • “you don’t feel like it before you start. you feel like it once you’re underway, and you’re making progress, and you’re solving problems”

    Belle’s thought for the day. Spot on. I’ve spent so much of my life stuck between neutral and first gear, wanting to get going, but somehow not being able to start (it won’t work, do this instead blah blah blah). Only nuclear explosions of the emotional kind seem big enough to force me off the starting blocks. And the answer to that overwhelming frustration has always been ‘let’s get hammered’ instead.

    NOT THIS CHRISTMAS! Happy sober Christmas everyone.

  • I am going to focus on how silly my FOMO ( Fear Of Missing Out!) is and realize that not everyone is partying every night during these holidays! That doing nothing is ok. Drink lots of tea. I am here again folks and I had 120 days! FOMO is my wolf’s MO!! It’s a killer for me.

  • My kids are not babies anymore at 23, 21 and 17 –so I am not going to stress about surprise gifts from Santa or worry about some gifts arriving late. Instead, my focus will be on myself and staying relaxed and in a good mood. I want to wake up sober on Christmas Day, too.

  • I am going to try not to please everyone so much. Seems like with some in my family no matter how hard I try I always fall short. I am going to remind myself to try not to get my feelings hurt when I am criticized. I am going to really be present in the moment rather than scurrying around trying to take care of everything. If the kitchen is messy then so be it. The world will not end and eventually it will get cleaned up. No need to miss opportunities to play with my grand baby for the sake of a clean kitchen. I won’t have any regrets when the Christmas season is over about feeling like I missed out on it because I was in a drunken haze. I am starting my sober journey tomorrow, December 21, 2017 since I am committed to doing the Solstice to Solstice sobriety plan.

  • This just about sums up my drinking. Complete OVERWHELM. I am mentally preparing for quitting again and came back to TOTAD at what looks like a perfect time. I know.. Nothing is going to seriously change between this second and when I do stop… Anywho… This Christmas, I’m not going to feel bad when I can’t take more time off of work to do holiday cheer shit I hate. I will not let it bother me when my dad bitches that I’m not doing these cheer things with the kids, which keeps me from working (I work for myself), because I’m fully aware that he will immediately begin bitching that I don’t have enough money.

  • This is my first sober Xmas. Avoid overwhelm. I’m going to have that be my mantra as I gear up this week. Im also not making a bunch of cookies. Im not staying up late Xmas eve. If my kitchen doesn’t look sparkling clean I’m not going to stress about it. I will let others do my dishes. I will hide in the bathroom when needed. I will not try and control conversation.

  • “to help myself avoid overwhelm – which is a boozer’s biggest trigger – i’m going to skip making Christmas Eve dinner and have pancakes instead.”

  • Instead of making a huge Christmas dinner, I am going to make a nice, small, intimate dinner for me and my boyfriend.

  • I’m not doing gifts for everyone I know. I’m not doing elaborate decorating. I’m not attending booze filled holiday parties. The grass you water is the grass that stays the greenest. I can let some areas die off if needed in order to keep the important ones thriving.

  • I’m going to give up making anything from scratch for the annual gathering at my house with my friends… all the food will heat up appetizerers only!!

  • I will be 2 years sober on Dec. 30 and I still struggle with overwhelm & wanting to drink, just to make it stop. This year I was getting stressed about hosting the annual gathering for his side if the family. I was crying, and yelling at the cat for pestering me, and my husband said “why do you have to make everything so difficult? Holidays are supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy things. They’re family; they won’t be checking to be sure everything’s perfect” (And they really won’t; I’m really lucky to have married into this family) So, I am not going to obsess about cleaning behind the fridge, or making sure the appetizers are put out in a certain order, or that we aren’t using the “good” dishes. I will give my husband a list, he will help me with the prep, it will all be OK.
    And – I am not going to bake cookies; I hate baking cookies. Someone is bound to give us some. I am not sending Christmas cards, too late now anyway. I am not going to buy and wrap presents for the cats – they won’t notice. And if I don’t get around to buying that last special present for my husband, he will understand. We can go shopping for it together after Christmas. I’m going to stay sober, which is the most important thing.

  • I am going to lunch at Moms for Xmas day so no cooking there! I have planned to not plan much apart from spending time with my son and other half. No new recipies planned, probably lots of bought food and takeaways.

  • This will be my first sober Christmas in 21 years, and I am looking very much forward to it. I enjoyed an annual cookie party with some running friends and had a great time without wine. I pulled my Christmas decorations out of storage and took my time putting them out, just finished yesterday. The big change is that I will not be doing a big Christmas dinner. We will order Chinese or I will do something simple in the crock pot. Maybe we will see a movie, and maybe not. I am simply looking forward to a nice day off!

  • I’m doing one stocking present per person, instead of the five I usually do. And they’re going to be really simple — a favorite candy bar, a favorite scented votive candle, a great kind of chapstick. Things I can get at a drugstore, although chosen with thought and love.

  • I am not decorating a tree with ornaments. It is a pre-lit tree and looks just beautiful without ornaments (think simplicity). And it is much less overwhelming as I hate un-decorating a tree and putting away the ornaments.


  • This year I will stop staying up past bedtime on Christmas Eve filling stockings and wrapping special “from Santa” gifts. Good lord my kids are both old enough to drive! I would hope they have figured out the Santa thing by now.

  • I generally struggle with spending time with certain family members. I would start “sipping” early. I really gave them something to talk about. I was labeled a lush drunk ect. In there eyes. This past weekend I hosted. I didn’t stress in fact my tree had lights on it but no ornaments yet. I got thru the day sober and relieved. I chose not worry what they think about me. My perfect sister in law is just a miserable insecure person anyway. I survived and I woke up hangover free!

  • I didn’t pull out all of the decorations and we didn’t even buy a tree. Each person gets one little gift AND the gift of sober me joining the world 🙂

  • This year so that I am not overwhelmed, I am not going to my mom’s side of the family for Christmas dinner. I am ok with the fact my mom will be mad, but my Grandma understands.

  • I decided early on that this year needs to be quiet and calm… I didn’t put up all of the decoration, didn’t bake or send cards. With a birthday celebrated yesterday for our youngest, the week before Christmas always feet crazy to me. Wrapping gifts this week, just kids and 2 family friends on Christmas Day.

  • Today is Day 180 for me!!! My first sober holidays in over 20 years. This year i’m not going back to where i used to live to visit my old drinking friends – i just can’t. my husband will visit his family and I will spend time with mine. AND I’m not sending any christmas cards either 🙂

  • To help myself avoid overwhelm – which is a boozer’s biggest trigger – i’m going to buy paper plates and use them. I do not have a dishwasher and I will have six people staying here and more will show up to visit. I have already decided to make soups because they are easy and I am buying pre-made meat pies. I will also really look forward to being “present” during this holiday week. Let us also not forget…when things get overwhelming…go into the bathroom, shut eyes and BREATH.”

  • I am not going to feel obliged to do what (I feel) is expected of me. If I am feeling overwhelmed by my boozy relatives I will take some time out and go and walk the dog or similar. I need to be present for me and my small one this Christmas.

  • I’m having a hard time with social situations so I am not going to have our annual Christmas party this year. It’s a ton of work, expensive and involves a lot of drinking. Both my teenagers have mono so it’s been the perfect excuse to just say we can’t do it this year. I can’t believe how much easier the holidays are overall without the weight of hangovers and embarrassing moments wreaking havoc with my mind and body. On Christmas Eve I’m ordering PF Chang’s (chinease) instead of a big Christmas Eve Event. On Christmas Day we are doing brunch at the in laws instead of dinner. We can get out early and then spend the rest of the day playing Monopoly and watching Christmas shows.

    I didn’t make any holiday cookies this year either. This is my first sober Christmas so my priority is staying sober…I can buy cookies, I can’t buy my boys a new mom. If given a choice of cookies and drunk mom vs no cookies and sober mom, I know they would choose to have a sober mom this Christmas. If I did mothing else but stay sober, no gifts, trees, cards, tinsel, etc. being sober would be enough.

  • I already forewent the real tree and bought a fake one this year. I love real ones, as do my kids, but getting it bought and driven home and off the car and in the base and through the door and strung with lights as a single parent is just more stress than I can take. Every time I walk past the fake one – pre-strung with lights – I feel the glow of self-care and I feel so grateful and proud of myself. I want to give up some of the holiday experiences I try to give my kids. I made a visit to the Nutcracker a holiday tradition, but i can’t really afford it this year. I also wanted to take my son to a Polar Express ride about two hours away, which also costs a lot. Plus driving, gas, traffic, plus food, plus, plus, plus. Running my sober car to empty. I booked the days off work between Christmas and New Year, and as I was contemplating going into debt to afford the Nutcracker and Polar Express, the thought occurred to me that we could STAY HOME, my kids and I. And do things we never have time to do – like watch a movie in the morning in our pyjamas, play games, just rest and be together. How about we do that?!

  • I will not “panic shop” at the last minute spending money I don’t have on things my family doesn’t need. Instead I will put a halt to all shopping by (Wellness) Wednesday 12/20… this includes stocking stuffers, gift cards, Christmas cards, candy, etc. I will spend the rest of the week wrapping a few things each night. I will not stay up past midnight on Christmas Eve. I will do my regular night time routine and be tucked in bed at a reasonable hour. Won’t it be so nice to wake up Christmas morning without a hangover?

  • I’m giving up shopping for my in-laws. My DH can do that or, more likely, not do that. And I’ll accept that the full-out of that decision might be that uncles and aunts don’t buy gifts for my kids next year.
    I’m giving up wrapping presents on Christmas Eve; I’ll do it well before (already started).
    I’m giving up Christmas hangovers (after wrapping on Christmas Eve).
    I’m giving up feeling like it’s my job to make everything work for the holidays. I’ll do what I can and leave the rest.

  • This Holiday will absolutely, positively not be about overwhelm! (for the first time in decades!) I’m just sitting back and taking all the magic in. Really enjoying the people I love instead of obsessing, overthinking, & overdrinking. This year I’m not sending the usual “perfect” picture card to the many peeps on my list (exhausting!)…just a cute little note with merry wishes to my immediate family: Done. Same for gifts: Done. Christmas Cookies from the bakery: Done. And the wino parties that really do not interest me in the least now that I’m not wining? Done with that too.
    “Under-whelmed, Merry, and Bright!” on Day 18

  • I haven’t sent Christmas cards in two years, and tonight I let my kids make candy while I just sat by and sort of supervised:).

  • Am avoiding overwhelm by not making any plans. I think I’ve been asked at least twenty times over the past two weeks, “What are your plans for Christmas?” to which I’ve replied, “I don’t know yet.” I may visit my family. I may not. I may bake cookies. I may not. I may buy presents. I may not. I’m simply trying to take it day by day by day and that includes each and every HOLIday in the upcoming weeks.
    Day 126

  • This year I will let go of “perfect”. The perfect gifts. The perfect napkins. The perfect menu. The perfect plates. The perfect poppers. Instead I will let others help and buy and organize. And I will let go.

  • I avoided the office very boozy Christmas party. I’m also only baking a couple of batches of Christmas cookies, because I want to, to bring to my daughter’s for Christmas and I’m buying something sweet to take to my in-laws on Christmas Eve 🙂

  • Avoiding overload by not baking more than one type of cookie, one type of fudge, not sending cards, not attending parties, not feeling guilty about it 🙂

  • I will not make dinner tonight because I have to start packing , I won’t try and get 2 weeks of work done in the next 3 days — hugs

  • I am NOT going to invite friends over for Christmas dinner. I will make an easy and simple dinner with the help of my husband and 2 kids and keep Christmas very low key.

  • I am going to only make 1 type of cookies and only use gift bags instead of making fancy bows for the pkgs. The less stress the better.

  • We are going on a Christmas vacation with my side of the family this year!!! We are not exchanging gifts because experiencing the trip together will be everyone’s gift! So, this has lessened my Christmas shopping. It has had the added bonus of making me get ready for the season way ahead of time because we leave December 21. We also own our own business, so it has forced us to get our year end work wrapped up early. I love it!!

  • My out of town sisters-in-law always do a cookie baking day that is mostly about drinking and being silly more than baking. We are there for Christmas on alternating years so on years when I’m not there, I usually send them a bottle of wine with a funny label, some such wine/alcohol related humor cocktail napkins, and obscene cookie cutters, etc. but I don’t feel like it honors where I am today to do that; plus I just don’t have time to deal with it. I’ll facetime them at the beginning of the party when they’re (hopefully) coherent and enjoy a quick visit with them. That will be more fun anyway. Day 117!