Ten Keys to a Happy Sober You!

Power of the Pause - High Day After Care

alcohol-free alcoholfree gifts of sobriety lockdown mental health mums wellbeing Dec 26, 2020
<span>Photo by <a href=yonatan anugerah on Unsplash" />

I have often woken up on Boxing Day with the feeling that things are a bit flat after the high day of Christmas and the build up. It has felt a bit sad and a bit meh. As a sober person, it’s also been accompanied by a huge sense of relief

The pressure is off , we can go back to ‘normal’, I’m usually itching to get away from the herd at this point - my most beloved herd , don’t get me wrong, but away to let my nervous system reset and somewhere I can create and hear my thoughts.

Us sensitive folks often use alcohol to cover up the feeling of being too exposed in the world. I used to have all kinds of blame-y narratives about that , like : It’s because I’m an anxious type, I’m F***cked up, always been too sensitive. I had a feeling there was something wrong with me. Everyone else seemed fine to muck in and enjoy themselves but  I found it all too much - too bright, too loud, and the dynamics in the room and family although they are outside of me, I experience them on the inside. So then I blamed myself for a ‘lack of boundaries’. So much judgement and very little actual nurture for the highly sensitive.

So this year, despite missing family, the whole thing was SO relaxing. The kids are a bit older so we slept til 8 am. We didn’t have to fit in with anyone else or apologise over table manners or how much chocolate was eaten or if there was a grump. I felt very grateful to have a garden and my chickens, and I lit a fire in the fire pit and had a sunset bath with lavender and bergamot.. all because I could.

We are entering Tier 4 lockdown today so this pause feels more pronounced than in previous years. It’s pathos and acceptance and a kind of deep bow to this bridge before Xmas and New Year that I usually feel. We have had to adapt and create new rituals this year perhaps, like that first year of sobriety, when nothing feels the same.

I feel like we are all being summoned like a roll call by Mother Nature to observe a two minute silence- we don’t want to because we want to rush around and distract and play. And it’s hard to learn.

I also think this period needs special care as High Day After Care - If we have survived a sober Xmas you can have the come down after a high day which actually can be more triggering than the day itself. So lots of self care as your nervous system resets and know that the wobbles are Ok and will pass. 

The toolkit is once again being examined - One Day at a Time needs to be up there. And making the world small. Staying in the present. All those annoying things that we know to be true but I don’t want to do that at New Year ! My blues sky thinking comes out and I’m making plans to go to the moon. Balancing on this tightrope of staying present enough to not freak out and to access gratitude in a real way and yet cultivating hope for the future. These all sound like grand old sober tools to me.

Digging deep at this dark point in the year during what Angela Carter called ‘ Introspective Winter- a sickroom hush.’ Or put another way, the pause between the in-breathe and the out-breath, a  no-man’s land of neither here nor there- and we don’t do so well with those do we? That’s why we invented rituals and rites of passage. But there is something about the power of the pause and being able to, as Sarah Blondin puts it ‘ Come face to face with the static and noise of our lives which feels both uncomfortable and intolerable’ which is the threshold to being able to chill out a bit and not just distract or numb.

The journey usually takes back to my senses to ground and centre me. Hot baths, tea, blankets, lights, cuddles, animals, nature, lighting fires. My toolkit in the winter speaks to the ‘soft animal of my body’ ( Mary Oliver)  more than in the summer heat. Alcohol at this time more than ever will impair the immune system and take us away from connection and presence. We need our tool kits full of real tools for body, mind and spirit.

Another tool for me is to remember common humanity. Stops the feelings isolation and shame somehow. Two of my bestest Sober Sisters live in France -  Mandy ( obvs) and Rose and they are both going on holiday today - I’m so so happy for them and I realised that I had this layer of shame about not being able to as well, and I realised I felt some shame around the UK and the variant - LOL- like it’s my fault. Self compassion and the feeling that we are all on the same bus is a life line for me.

So, lots of TLC, watch for the wobbles, know it will all pass and don’t drink even if your ass is on fire.

We’ll get through this.

Much love







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