Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One Job

Headed off to NY tomorrow to do an event...just like last year.  Except last year I was there all week - this time its just 24 hours.  Fine by me.  Travel gets old after a while and I've been doing it for the last 20 years.  It's officially old.

Last year's trip was a blast because it was my first time in NY at Christmastime.  My two coworkers and I had such a great time!  I did have inspired this post.  That got me thinking about some of you who may be struggling and I decided that I'd like to add my two cents to the whole "Holiday Survival Guide" thing.

I mean really...what self-respecting recovering alcoholic doesn't have some advice to get through this time and what kind of self-respecting recovering alcoholic would I be if I didn't share?

Now say that last sentence three times fast.

Just kidding.

First of all, if you're newly sober (and hell, maybe even if you're not), this is going to suck in ways you've never imagined.  This is going to suck so bad your ancestors will feel it.  But here's the thing - it's OKAY.  Anything worth having takes WORK and sobriety is so worth having!!!  Know that no matter how bad your feeling and how badly you want that will pass.  I promise.  It will pass.  And when it will still be sober.

Next, be sure to take care of yourself and your sobriety FIRST.  Announce it to your family/friends if necessary.

"Look people, nothing matters more to me right now than staying sober so I'm putting you on notice, I come first!  If I'm not here it means I'm taking care of me.  If I don't answer my phone it means I don't want to talk you because you annoy me and that might trigger me so leave me a message.  If I don't return a text right away it means I'm doing something good for myself like taking a bubble bath, getting a massage or eating chocolate.  Get over yourself.  Right now, it IS all about me."

Seriously, if you don't put this first and foremost in your life, you're no good to anyone else.  You don't HAVE to do anything.  I promise that Christmas will still come and the planet will still keep turning if you don't get around to wrapping all your gifts before the 13th, or making Aunt Betty's pumpkin souffle that takes forty gadzillion hours and 23 steps not to mention 37 different ingredients.  If it's stressing you out then forget about it.  You can do it all next year.

(And before you say anything, you are not special when it comes to this kind of thing.  We all have those special things we're supposed to do and ridiculous expectations put on us this time of year.  So what.  Just say no.)

Now I'm sure you're probably worried about the holiday parties, saying no to the booze and/or not having a good time.  I mean in the world can you be expected to have a good time if you can't drink?

So let's do this.  Let's just all agree that you are NOT going to have a good time at any of these parties this year.  Remember that part when I said this would suck?  Yeah well this is that part.  It sucks (at first) to be the sober one at the party.  It also pisses you off.  Why can't I drink if he can?  Well you can't.  Plain and simple.  So stay home and throw a hissy fit (I've thrown one or ten or fifty in my sober life).  Or go and throw one.  Or go and sit in a corner and pout.  If other people don't like it...then fuck them.


Go to the party and eat yourself stupid if you have to...which brings me to my next point.  Fuck calories.  If you are newly sober or if the holiday's are a particularly difficult time for you, give yourself a fucking break and eat the goddamn cookies!  Or fudge, or mac and cheese or bacon or WHATEVER!  Just eat it!!!!  You deserve it!  You're sober when no one else is!  This eating thing will pass eventually and you'll get your life back on track, don't worry.  It's temporary and, for a lot of us, necessary to our sobriety.

If you go to the parties (or family get togethers or whatever) I want you to take a moment and look around.  Watch how everyone else is drinking.  Sure, some people are getting shit-faced (and you'll either feel sorry for them or you'll be disgusted by them...most likely you'll just be glad it's not you this year), but many, many others are not.  They are sipping their drinks.  They'll have one, maybe two and be done.  While you are looking longingly at their drinks I want you to remember THAT YOU CAN NOT DRINK LIKE THIS.  So don't even try.  Remember, one job - stay sober...that's it.  NO MATTER WHAT!!!

Now to the good part.  At the end of every night this holiday season (with the exception of Christmas Eve if you have little ones) you can go to bed early.  You can put on your warmest PJ's and snuggle up under your blankets, read a little (and comprehend/remember what you're reading) or maybe watch a little TV.  Have some hot tea, or maybe some hot chocolate with real whipped cream (after you've squirted some in your mouth right from the can).  Then you can drift off to dreamland only to wake refreshed the next day and ready for whatever the day might bring.

One job...that's all you have this holiday season.  ONE JOB.

You can handle that can't you? sure as hell can.



  1. This is awesome, Sherry.

    Have a great time in NYC. Come back healthy! You got sick last time, I recall.

    Lots of love, Christy

  2. Nice. One job and one job only. I like it. xxx

  3. Thank you, Sherry! The evites are rolling in and that feels hard. This is helpful.
    NYC in Dec....beautiful.
    Jenny G.

  4. Love, love, love, love this. Shout out truth there, sistah! You are saying all the things that need to be said, in plain matter-of-fact ways.

    "Seriously, if you don't put this first and foremost in your life, you're no good to anyone else. You don't HAVE to do anything." That's it exactly. We hear a lot of "but I have to go because of..." or "they would be mad if I didn't go to that house party" or "my work expects me to...". Nonsense. If I had a terrible illness that would cause me to get worse if I went out somewhere, I wouldn't think for a second about going to something that will cause me that pain and possible further damage. So why do we put ourselves in these positions? The number one thing in recovery: Put your sobriety first. Voila!

    I think what you say is wonderful here, Sherry, and boy do you get this. You really understand what it's like for us. This is fantastic.



  5. Thanks Sherry! I read blogs first thing every morning when I wake. I've been taking what you and others say seriously. Limiting all stress. I'm trying not to freak that I'm overeating, or freak bc I rather sleep in than be at the gym at 5:30 am or stress that I'm putting my pjs on at 7 and watching TV or reading instead of cleaning or preparing for the holidays. I'm putting me first and stress free as possible bc stress is a trigger. I already said no to holiday cards this year and was told that was sad, take the kids pic and order cards. Screw u I don't care what others say. I don't feel like it. I have one job, staying sober. That's it! I will do this and then January focus a little more on better food choices and the gym.

    Have a great trip & enjoy the pretty lights!

  6. Great post Sherry! This is my first holiday sober and I'm really looking forward to it. No dread. I'm prepped and ready to go!

  7. Your honesty is refreshing because you're right - the first sober parties DO suck. I think knowing that would have helped, though they still would have sucked. I agree with you on the food thing too. It feels like this huge, forever problem, and the fact is a lot of this stuff sorts itself out over time and with work. I like this one job...simple, great advice here. Also, love the new picture on your sidebar!

  8. You sure do have a way with words! I love the "one job" thing! Have you seen the memes about "you only had one job"? They're quite amusing.

    I hope you have a fabulous trip.

  9. God I needed to read this today! I really NEEDED this! Went to a meeting this morning and left. I couldn't stand being in that room. Everyone was talking like they were "spiritually fit". Well I am not. Today I am sad. I called a friend from the program and she talked me off the ledge. She said the same thing you did. Some days just suck. It will pass. So I came home and am cleaning my house, rocking out to Christmas tunes....and hoping this will pass.


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