The Christmas party is looming and there is no escaping from it, I have to be there, I own the company and I am expected to attend. This is going to be a big sober-challenge for me.
The party is held at a fancy hotel called the Elvetham, it is a black tie and gown affair and there are usually around 400 people in the grand marquee, with food, drink and dancing until 2am. Once the marquee closes at 2am our company tradition is to retire into the bar or sit around the open fire in the lobby drinking until the birds start singing and the sun is thinking about rising.
My main memories of Christmas parties in the past are of stupid behaviour – including diving head first into a huge Christmas tree, stealing (and wearing) a full length fur coat and hat, consoling a colleague who was collapsed on the floor in tears (and another who was being sick), knocking over numerous wine glasses and half full bottles, bumping into (and upsetting) people, dancing on chairs and tables and stage diving onto the dancefloor.
These are just the bits I remember, because if I am honest I don’t remember a lot. Christmas parties involved me getting totally out of it and seeing double by midnight. They have also resulted in a few of the worst hangovers I ever had with the following couple of days being a complete write-off.
There were also numerous dramas involving my work colleagues sleeping with people they have just met who they wouldn’t normally look twice at, arguments, fights, tears, the list goes on…
I took this picture at my 2015 work Christmas Party, I had drunk the best part of three bottles of red wine before falling and knocking a bottle over.
Just writing this down makes me cringe, why the hell did I behave like that?
What doesn’t help is that everyone else is on a mission to get as hammered as possible, it is the party season and everyone is drinking hard and letting their hair down.
So how do you deal with your Christmas party sober? How do you still have a good time? How do you avoid drinking? This could be tricky…I decided to write down and consider my options and strategies.
- Don’t go – If you are in the early days of sobriety it may make sense to avoid this kind event altogether. Obviously it won’t be possible or practical for everyone, but this is an option to consider.
- Go, but just stay for an hour or two – Let’s be honest, those drunk people get really annoying and repetitive after a couple of hours, so an option could be to show your face for the first hour or two and then leave. They will be drunk when you leave anyway and won’t even notice.
- Drive – So long as you are sure you won’t drink – This gives you the perfect excuse as to why you aren’t drinking and allows you to leave when you have had enough.
- Alcohol-free drinks – Find out if the venue has decent alcohol-free drinks available so you don’t have to sip water all night.
- Stay on guard – You will probably get drinks pushed in your face, ours has a champagne reception. So keep your sober-guard up, it is also easy to pick up the wrong drink and find you have an alcoholic one by mistake, just be careful.
- Have fun – Even if you have to fake a smile to start with. We already know that alcohol doesn’t make an event fun, it is the people you are with and the event itself. Just because you aren’t drinking doesn’t mean you should have less fun, so make sure you still enjoy yourself. It will be all the better because you can remember it.
- Be the photographer – Your drunk friends will love you the next day when you post the pictures of them on Facebook!
- Have your sober-excuse ready – Not that it is anything to do with anyone else, but people will ask why you aren’t drinking, so have your answer prepared, there are plenty of posts on this website about how to deal with this and what to say.
- It will pass – Just like everything on the sober-journey (cravings, anxiety, mood-swings) it will pass, it is only a few hours and before you know it you will be on your way home sober and getting into your comfy bed without the room spinning. You also have the added bonus of waking up hangover free.
- Think yourself lucky – You won’t do anything you regret, no snogging, no fighting, no being sick etc’. You won’t be cringing about having to show your face in the office after the Christmas break.
Bonus idea – Book yourself a treat for the day after the Christmas party, a spa day or a meal out for example – after all, you have earned it!
I am going to try and treat my Christmas party as a challenge, I want to go and I want to have a good time. If I can dance sober then that will be another huge milestone for me!
I would love to know how everyone else deals with their Christmas party sober, leave a comment below.