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It's Christmas Party Season... Sober Style!


Itssssssss Chrisssssstmaaaaass!!! As Noddy Holder loves to tell us.


Well not quite, but it’s getting pretty close.


Christmas is a funny old time, even in a normal year. Stressful for many, joyous for others. Boozy for almost everyone.


But not us, eh!


We are choosing to do it differently… choosing to take a different route this year.


This will be my second sober Christmas, but I have a confession…


I'm Struggling

I'm worried. I'm agitated. I'm anxious.


Last year Christmas didn't really happen. Well, it did in a biblical sense (and that surely is the most important thing), but it didn't happen the way Christmas used to shake down for me.


Let’s rewind. My profession likes to say thank you to its clients and business contacts by "entertaining" "networking", and "schmoozing". (Feeling sick yet?)


The first week of December usually saw me out from lunchtime until god knows when, socialising at various events and functions to say hello or thank you whilst honouring the Christmas spirit of drinking.


The festive season consisted of lunches with after dinner speakers, trips to far flung cities (sometimes abroad), and corporate bashes in hired venues. We’d top it off with an annual company party in Dublin… Flipping ‘eck!


Typing all this out it sounds great, doesn't it? I know that a lot of people would be envious.


But do all these things enough times and close enough together and they become a bit of a challenge.


I used to get excited and dread them in equal measure. Truth be told, I always used to drink to calm myself down. I used to find these events uncomfortable. I worried massively about talking to lots of people who seemed better equipped to deal with the profession than me. (Yep, I'm a true sufferer of the dreaded Imposter Syndrome.)


So, two, maybe three, times a week for the entirety of December I'd be on it. Then, the nights I wasn't out with work, I'd be out with my wife and/or friends to "celebrate Christmas".


Even if I was in the house recovering, I'd sometimes have a few drinks just to pull me round. I was not in a good place to cope with normality.


(You can guess what sort of state I was in by Christmas Eve. It wasn't pretty. I'd crawl back to work in the new year feeling like I'd been literally dug up. (Now who else says that!))


Anyway, back to the story.


If I’m completely honest, last year’s Christmas function no-show suited me down to the ground. Able to avoid the struggle of staying sober at the usual bashes, I just kept my head down and stayed out of the way.


BUT…


This year it’s coming on like a seventh sense. Everyone is out and on it – ready to give it large. At least, that's how it feels to me.


I'm not the man I was 18 months ago. This guy likes staying in. He likes decaf tea and shortbread on a wintery night.


But I've had a word with myself; I’ve taken myself away and given myself a bit of a dressing down. You see, I'm still a decent fella. I can still be funny when I want to be. I can still give it large when I really put my mind to it.


Well, actually, I'm not 100% sure about all of that.


But I do know that I CAN still go to at least some of these functions

(I'll still avoid many of them. If I'm honest, I used to tell myself I needed to go to them all for work reasons. I think we know that was horse tripe!)


Instead, this year I'll go to the ones I want to or where I need to show my face. Always with the car. Always with a plan.


I’m even going to set myself a little challenge to keep me entertained:


To find out something interesting about each person that I never knew before

This way I’ll avoid getting anxious, grumpy, or miserable. I'm on a mission to find out some juicy info, and I can look forward to treating myself to some naughty food on the way home. Or I could treat myself to a new album or another self-given gift. Sort of like the human equivalent of giving a dog a biscuit when he gives you his paw.


Another thing that's getting me through is thinking about the morning after. Oh God, the beer fear I used to have the morning after a big works night out was awful!


Who had I upset? What had I said? Do those people think I'm an idiot?

The "hangxiety" was off the scale.


But the new lad plans to go for a run in the morning instead! A sign of true progress. The new me is up and on it the day after a function!


So, with that in mind, what's your plan?


Best we all have one… we don’t want to be caught out!


Merry Christmas everyone!!!


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