This 'Sober First Aid Kit' concept comes from my lovely friend @suek, and it's brilliant. She wrote this guest post for us around Christmas time a few years back and I have embraced the concept ever since. Every time I go away (and sometimes if I'm hosting at home) I put together a Sober First Aid Kit for myself. It just sends a very clear message that I am looking after myself and being my own best friend - and that is very important at this time of heavy socialising and busyness (that also reminds me of another brilliant post @suek wrote for us about the importance of being your own best friend - you can find it here).
@suek: OK everyone, we're all going to be doing battle in one way or another over Christmas and New Year, so we might as well be prepared with a sober first aid kit to help us out when we most need it. The whole point of the sober first aid kit is to grab something out of it when your wolfie voice is yelling "I need a damned drink right now!"
The sober first aid kit gives you something else -- something healthy, loving, kind and BETTER than booze. Everyone's first aid kit will be different. That's because it's designed especially for you and your particular needs and loves. Here are some guidelines for your kit. At the end I'll reveal what's in mine.
A really good smell can be incredibly transporting, and when you're stressed and freaking out, a scent you love can totally calm you down and reset your equilibrium. What kinds of smells do you love? Tropical, earthy, spicy, floral, fruity? It can be a tiny bottle of aromatherapy oil -- you can get single scents or blends for different effects. I love frankincense. It just takes me somewhere far above the crap I'm dealing with and reminds me of my wise, loving self who's always there for me. Lavender and rose do it for me too.
It might be a favourite perfume. A crushed leaf from the rosemary plant. A scented candle.
Find your scent -- the one that will remind you of a better you than boozer you, and when you need it, take a deep slow mindful sniff.
There's a lot of talk about the evils of refined sugars, and I'm totally on board with that. But please, please, please don't eliminate all the sweetness from your life! We need sweetness, and it's no accident that we are drawn to sweet flavors. Nature gives them to us for a purpose, and I think it's to sweeten up our lives (our first food, breast milk, is sweet. Go figure.) So have some healthy sweet things in your first aid kit. I go for dates, raisins, dried bits of mango. Honey is good too -- you can get those little honey packs and suck on one in an emergency. Dark chocolate in tiny packs is great too. See if you can suck the chocolate rather than wolf it down... much more satisfying.
We're sober because we want to be better versions of our selves. We don't want to be the lost, lonely, out-of-control booze hound we once were. We were inspired to do all that hard work to get sober, and we need to keep on inspiring ourselves, especially during these holidays, which can bring us face to face with all our old demons, memories, traditions, and habits. Make sure your first aid kit has a reminder of what inspires you. It could be a photo of your kids to remind you of your future, a quote you really relate to, a card or a stone or a crystal or whatever reminds you about your hopes and dreams for yourself.
Something soft and cosy
Often when we get that "I WANNA WINE" impulse, we just want to be soothed from something uncomfortable. Now I'm all for blankies, but I don't recommend wrapping up in one and crawling under the tree during the family Christmas lunch. I do love to have something on hand that's soft and comfy though, and that I can slip on and feel relaxed. My default for when I'm in public is a soft silk neck scarf -- a mini blankie (even better if it's got a drop of my favourite smell on it already -- a double whammy). If I'm staying away from home, I always make sure I've got extra cosy pyjamas, socks and slippers, and my hottie. A soft hoodie is also a very nice thing to curl up in. Or a onesie if you're that way inclined! Just pack with your own comfort in mind, and when you need to escape the party, go to your room and rug up!
Your Phone or computer! Don't forget to use your emergency help line and text a sober friend or jump on the Living Sober page and share what's going on. The point here is "Just because it's Christmas or New Year doesn't mean you're cut off from sober support." Have your phone charged, and your numbers loaded, and Use Them!
I think as boozers we get very very good at neglecting ourselves. We get hard wired to think that booze is our treat and what we deserve, and we neglect so much else about our health and grooming. So put some pampering things into your first aid kit. Hand cream, face cream, lip balm, a facial mist spray, a hair brush or comb... when you're feeling a bit scratchy or frazzled, giving your hair a brush and moisturizing your skin can be a game-changer. Blokes, you can do this too. For sure!
If you're off to a party or somewhere the food isn't guaranteed to be good, take something good and nourishing with you. Some fruit, nuts, energy bars, drinks... whatever you like to snack on when you're needing a pick up. I really think junk food and booze are very close buddies, and one nudges us toward the other. So eat well to protect yourself from that double agent.
How about delighting yourself with a surprise? I'm going to put a lucky dip component into my first aid kit. I think I'll get myself some tiny presents this year, wrap them up individually, and open one when I feel like I need a lift. Totally optional, this one. It was just a random idea.
Wrapping it up
Put your first aid gear in a nice bag or box so you can feel good about keeping it out and on hand. Whatever works for you. I keep mine in one of those pouches you get on the air planes (from someone else who travelled business class!). I wouldn't judge you for shoving your stuff in a plastic supermarket bag (hey, at least you've got a first aid kit), but do think about making this something special. It's your own personal message to yourself and to your addict voice, that you mean business this year. You're sober, and you're staying sober. If you can, make your sober first aid kit a statement!
@SueK's sober first aid kit
Something smelly: frankincense essential oil
Sweet: date and almond balls rolled in coconut
Inspiring: a card from my angel card bowl, which I'll pick on Christmas morning
Soft and cosy: a silk neck scarf
Supporting: a fully charged phone and a browser open to Living Sober
Pampering: lavendar hand cream
Nourishing: bag of antioxidant mix fruit and nuts
Surprising: tiny gifts to self, still to be bought, but likely to include a crystal or stone, a new hair clip, some special silk tea bags.
Have a think about your Sober First Aid Kit and let us know below what will be going into it.....