Christmas Audio

In this special Christmas edition of the podcast that i've just sent out to ​podcast subscribers, i talk about how to avoid getting too wound up, the things that children remember, and how to deal with attending a dinner where host is an over-drinker. 

Oh, and a good reminder, that needs to go on a t-shirt, which is: You don’t need to engage with every idiot.

I also mention Sober Party Bingo > use this link (the 10 rules for sober party bingo are about half-way down the post)

As a gift today, I am going to post the full 50 minute audio here, and leave it up until December 26th. You can begin to listen now, in 10 minute increments, even if you are not a podcast subscriber.

happy merry to you. may you have good food, good moods, and one gift that makes you smile. and a lot of sleep. and a treat for doing this sober thing. it's hard work. it's worth doing. it suits you.​

Audio will be available until December 26th. Listen now.​

[ link removed ]

​Bonus Sober Podcast C18. Christmas 2018​

You can ​leave a comment below, anonymous is fine, and tell me if there's anything that stands out for you ​​... To download the entire audio, you can use the link below.

​Download C18. ​Christmas 2018​

Sign up for the ​podcast membership
(1-2 new full-length audios each ​week, you can cancel whenever you like ... but you won't. more sober tools = good)

​sober art thanks to mr.belle, this is painting #282 here.


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

  • When we visited Poland I brought back some [alcohol] and never tasted it. At some point I shoved it in the back of a cupboard. I came across it not long ago, told my husband where it was and asked him to remove it. I have been sober over 4 years, so this surprised me. Yet, I can sit in a pub and enjoy the music and sip on grapefruit juice and be perfectly happy, even though everyone else is drinking … Sometimes it just depends on the day or the situation.

  • I only got to minute 7 of this because it was buffering unhelpfully. Although I have had 4 sober Christmases, I’ve relapsed in betewen the the sober Christmases have been good. 5 Christmases ago, a 10, 8 and 5 year old woke me up in a wet bed. I’d drunk 3 litres of wine and a bottle processco. I wonder if my kids remember the presents and stockings and picture perfect scene downstairs of the smell of their Mum in her wet bed? I don’t want to ask them. I don’t want to know.

    The overfunctioning is crazy. I cannot function to the levels I did when I was actively drinking. I wonder why?! It seems ridiculous that I am not able to do the things I did before..

  • You always have a choice… and if you drink you remove the options and you engage with every idiot. That’s what I learned from this podcast. Thanks for it!

  • Merry Christmas and thanks for the podcast gift! Two things resonated with me, first, sober treats are non-negotiable – don’t fall for the ‘I’ve got six months, I’m good now so stop with the treat thing already’. Stick to your supports. And your second point – who said you had to label yourself an alcoholic in order to give up drinking? As you say, it just doesn’t suit me anymore. Cut myself some slack and free myself from the false anxiety that the ‘I’m an alcoholic therefore I need fixing, therefore I’m flawed, therefore I’m a ‘less than’ rather than a ‘greater than’ person’, label gives me. Be softer and kinder not just to others but to myself as well.

  • Cry me a river!!! That’s a song 😂
    2 sober Christmases in a row. Wolfie does tend to wake up this time of year so I have added in some more supports. “It’s a gift to be available to the people around you.” So many great moments in this particular podcast.

  • Thanks for sharing this belle, I’ve started a tradition today by making “homemade” cookies with my 6yo daughter for Santa, I used a Betty Crocker pack that you had to add just two tbsp of water to and bake for 10mins! I loved it I hope she remembers us baking together and guess what they came out great.
    Xx merry Christmas belle. May all your Christmas wishes come true.

  • “Ce n’est pas la mer a boire.

    “It’s not as if you have to drink the sea. “

    It seems a perfect French quote all the way around. We can get through anything and it’s not as bad as we think.

    Adding in the obvious that as drinkers we tend to think we have to drink it all.

    Day 5 and first sober Christmas in a decade.

  • Wonderful advice. Gonna take my mocktail to the fam dinner tonight and watch the show from the cheap seats.
    I don’t know if this is good or bad but I really have never been a people pleaser type. Got the guideline stuff covered. Telling folks what I will tolerate has not ever been a problem. Now, the empathy part, that I gotta work on! Merry Christmas.

  • Thanks for this great pep talk Belle. I’m feeling nervous about Xmas after relapsing a couple of days ago. I wish I’d heard this podcast just before I lapsed…I had an early Xmas gathering with some family and was given two very high end bottles of xx as a gift … Part of me thought, I don’t want this alcohol in my house, and wolfie said, just drink it- then it will be gone. Of course, being an over drinker, I drank the lot while numbing my brain on social media. Woke up feeling drunk and ashamed. Next time I’m giving my alcohol gifts away- even if they are expensive. Got my konbucha and sparkling mineral water ready for tomorrow- and a full tank of gas so I can high tail it out of the family gatherings if it all gets too overwhelming. Thanks a million! Merry Xmas! X

  • Thanks so much Belle. The most resonating part for me is the section on sobriety as a gift AND all the gifts it brings. Pride, accomplishment, health, new space in your head to engage the day differently. Alcohol has been a part of every Christmas for me – from brunch right into the evening. I’m not sloppy; I appear normal and able, fun, engaging. but all the time, I’m obsessively aware of the alcohol, making sure I get enough, while being perfectly in control, with a perfectly normal relationship to alcohol (Should I pour this glass in front of others? When should I slip into the kitchen to top it off? Oh, so many decisions like this…!). And Christmas tomorrow would be no different.

    Oh, yeah, another part of the podcast that’s so helpful to me – Belle’s simple statements to others about the choice to not drink. E.g. Alcohol seems to be affecting my sleep, and I’ve been sleeping better, so no thanks. For people like me, where the extent of my drinking has been done or managed privately, I need to remember that others don’t need a dissertation about why I’m skipping having a drink. I’ve always built it up in my head that others would demand more of an explanation.

    So, it’s Day 2 for me today. I’ve had a lot of sober days this past month, just not in row. Tomorrow, will be my first sober Christmas. That’s my gift to myself. Merry Christmas, Belle.

  • Thanks for this podcast. I need this today. It is my first sober Christmas this year. I am headed to a family event today, hanging out with people I don’t particularly like so I need the sober tools to get through this year. Thank you for all these tools and I will disengage when I need too. Thank you 😊

  • I am sitting here Christmas Eve morning after having just finished a 5 mile run. It’s quiet – everyone is still sleeping and I’m just looking at my lit Christmas tree thinking how beautiful it is. I’m all ready for today and tomorrow morning. There will be no crazed last minute have to do’s because I’ve taken your advice – things you talk about in this podcast. I did not overload, I took time outs to take care of myself and most of all I did not drink! Happy Holidays everyone!

  • I am on day 37, tomorrow is Christmas, and there is no way that i am going to lose this momentum on Christmas day and no plans to lose it at all.

  • You don’t have to engage with every idiot! My partner attempting to stir me up to show off to mates… or just because he thinks it’s ‘a joke’. I engage by getting sh!tty! Well, no more!
    Thank you, Belle, for the words to run through my head (don’t engage with the idiot!) and the behaviour (smile and move away)… then maybe a treat of meditation to cool with my boiling blood- leading to someday no blood boiling just true Dis? Un? Non? engagement 😜

  • I’ve been so scared about the prospect of being sober this Christmas but the podcast has come at just the exact right time and given me the hope that I can do this and I will do this. I am 130 ish days sober during which time my Mum passed away , I had the worst back pain/ trapped nerve thing a burst water pipe , which flooded my neighbours flat and no insurance….but I didn’t drink because wine would not have made any of those things better. I will not drink tomorrow I will feel good about myself and I will carry on with this new life …not always fantastic (see above) but infinitely better than mixing alcohol in to the equation. Thanks for being there big hugs x

  • Love to hear your tools for coping with Christmas I really want at shirt with you don’t have to engage with the idiot logo might see if I can get my friend in Devon to make one for me he prints things on T shirts, I wonder if a few people might not engage with me if I’m wearing it cos when I’ve been drinking at Christmas before it was probably me being the idiot!

  • Love the strategies in here – thank you. First sober Xmas (since last pregnancy 12 years ago) and third sober Xmas in last 27 years. Happy Christmas all – doesn’t need alcohol.

  • I love the comment about the lullaby being a bug 🐛!
    How funny…
    I’m trying think how to put into practice not overdoing the cooking. That is where I tend to go overboard and wear myself out .
    I like the reminder about these celebrations being about connecting with people ; it’s not about creating a perfect setting.
    The kids will hopefully remember feeling good…
    It’s certainly easier to think about all this with a clear sober head that’s for sure- even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly.