We are gearing up to head away for our big end of year holiday. The dog is going into the kennels, the tent is going into the car along with many other bags and assorted camping/holiday equipment. We’re catching a ferry and driving for hours to spend time with family and friends.
The next two weeks will be a crazy busy, incredibly social, relaxing yet tiring time.
I have some well entrenched habits now that I practice to look after myself as I prepare to leave my sober bubble and venture out to become a house-guest and tent dweller. Some of them involve packing and planning. Others involve things for while we’re actually away. These are things that suit my personality and likes… they might not be right for you but hopefully you’ll get the idea that taking the time to look after yourself before you travel and while away can make all the difference. The goal is to protect your sobriety and treat yourself with kindness.
One of the most important things I do before we depart is pack a container with all my favourite tea bags in it. I count the number of days we’re going to be away and put in that exact number of my morning and evening tea bags. For the morning it’s green tea flavoured with mandarin and for the evening it’s chamomile tea. Then I put in about 20 other tea bags that I might drink during the days. Some delicate, some spicy, some fruity, some festive. I know this sounds little and inconsequential but for me it’s not. These cups of tea are important markers in my day, I absolutely love them and being able to continue having them while on holiday is important. Every time I reach into my container while away feels great, and every cup of tea is like a little self-care hug.
Before we leave I also take some time to plan my clothing. I’m not naturally good with fashion and dressing myself, but I have improved greatly in this department since I got sober. I just care a bit more, take time choosing and am less likely to keep wearing something if I don’t feel good in it. Sometimes when I’m packing to travel I’ll even have a trying-on session to make sure my outfits work. I never used to do this! But I want to feel good about myself while I’m away because being in busy, social, family environments can sometimes be quite vulnerable-making.
This year while we’re away I’m also going to work hard to stick to my healthy eating plan. I’ve made a big container of my morning oats to take with me and will keep trying to avoid sugar and flour. This is where I’m at now I’m 6 years sober and completely free of any booze cravings. Do what you need to with food depending on where you’re at with your recovery. If you’re in the very early days and sugar is your friend then go for the sugar and pack sweeties! The point is to look after yourself and put some forethought into this.
I’ve also learned over the years that when I’m away and constantly surrounded by other people it’s important for me to try and snatch little moments of time alone. Whether it be half an hour of quiet reading in the afternoon, a quick solo walk around the block to clear my head, or even five minutes alone in the car at the end of a shopping trip, these moments help keep me grounded and focused. I have to consciously recognise that I’m taking a self-care moment – sometimes shutting my eyes to take a few deep restorative breaths, remembering that what I’m doing in living completely alcohol-free is brave and amazing and I’m a hero for doing it.
Of course I’ll also be staying in touch with my recovery community while away. I’ll make sure to ‘like’ or comment on social media posts from other sober heroes because recognising their efforts helps boost my own. I’ll write updates in the Members Feed here at Living Sober and will post my own sobriety related photos and comments on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I want to keep sobriety and my recovery at the forefront of my mind, as doing this keeps me emotionally healthy.
And finally I’ll keep reminding myself that the Christmas/New Year’s holiday is a lovely time of reconnection and fun but it does come with stressors and pressures. I know I’ll get tense at times and tired. I know my emotions might be more raw and I might get shaken up by other people. I’ll keep remembering this is a short break in my routine and soon enough I’ll be back home in my sober bubble with my normal systems back in order.
So with that in mind I’ll remember to look for all the lovely things, be grateful for all the good things, focus on the other people around me and what’s going on for them, and never forget that my life is immesurably better now that I’m not necking wine constantly.
Happy holidays everyone!
Love, Mrs D xxx