Wishing You A Sparkly Sober Christmas xxxxxxxxxxx

Wishing You A Sparkly Sober Christmas xxxxxxxxxxx

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Hey guys I hope your having a fab Christmas Eve and a sparkly sober Christmas so far!

I won’t make this a long post as I know it’s a busy time.

I just want to say a huge THANKYOU from the bottom of my heart.  When I started my blog and Instagram page in March this year, I had no idea that it would do so well and the sober support I have received has been AMAZING!

Every message, comment and email has been so positive and the fact that people are reaching out to me for help is just something that the drinking me would NEVER have thought possible!

I truly hope that you are having a sparkly, sober christmas and enjoying this magical time without the blur of alcohol.  This will be my third sober christmas and I honestly feel like you get so much more out of this special time and you are giving your family especially your children the best version of you! My children have been one of my main reasons for me to stop drinking and you can read more of this in one of my previous post s My Girls – My Wake Up Call!

“BEING A PRESENT PARENT IS THE BEST PRESENT YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILD”

If you are struggling this Christmas and all of your good intentions have gone out of the window, don’t give up.  If you’re looking for help and advice please message me or read  my previous post How To Have A Sober Christmas To Remember!   Christmas 2015 was my last christmas that I was drinking and I spent most of it hating how I felt, how I looked and drank my way through horrendous hangovers – I knew I had to change, I wanted to change but it took me until November 2016 to finally quit.

Even if you are trying to stop drinking and keep failing you are on the right path and are steps ahead of anyone who is in total denial about their drinking.  Please don’t beat yourself up, it will just make you want to drink more, believe me I have been there.  All of your attempts are practice runs and one day it will click and 2019 will be your time for sober firsts – sober holidays, sober birthdays, just sober living in general – it’s a whole new world!

Sending all my love to you and yours and I hope that your Christmas 2018 is a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons!

Lots of Love 

Angie xx

 

 

 

 

 

How To Have A Sober Christmas To Remember!

How To Have A Sober Christmas To Remember!

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Firstly I would like to say a huge THANKYOU to all of you who congratulated me on hitting two years sober last week!! You really made an already special day, extra special and I was certainly feeling the sober love!

I have had quite a few messages and requests for hints and tips on how to stay sober over the Christmas period. So with December almost upon us I thought it wa a good time to get this post out there and it can hopefully help any of you feeling anxious about dealing with the ‘MERRY’ part of Christmas!

Two years ago when I decided to stop drinking, surviving Christmas was definitely at the forefront of my mind.  But as you know I love a challenge and part of me thought – look if I can get through Christmas not drinking then I can get through anything!  This will be my third sober festive season and I can honestly say they are the best!  You feel like you get so much more out of it, so many more things to do and so many more memories to make.

I have always loved Christmas and especially with having children, but I did used to see Christmas as a drinking free for all.  I mean there are so many reasons to be opening the mulled wine or prosecco at any time of day,  its Christmas –WHY NOT!

So anxiety And stress when you think about a sober Christmas are totally understandable.  I am someone who could polish off three bottles of wine plus more over Christmas day, and still cook Christmas dinner for all my family, so believe me I get it!  I wasn’t the ‘ooh I will just have a glass of Bailey’s’ sort of Christmas drinker, no it was a free for all for me from the start to the finish of the holidays!

Lets be honest, Christmas is a stressful time and with alcohol being offered to you at every opportunity,  it’s a dangerous situation to be in if you’re in the early days of stopping drinking, so its important that you plan ahead.  Think how you can make Christmas easier and less stressful on yourself? Cut yourself some slack this year! Most of these points look at how you can do just that.

So here are my hints and tips for a sober Christmas and New Year that you get to truly enjoy AND most importantly get to REMEMBER every single second of!

 

  • PRIORITISE – Realise that you can’t be everything to everyone.  Prioritise what really is important to you this Christmas.  Just because you have had the neighbours around every year for a booze up doesn’t mean that you have to do it this year?  If certain traditions and events are always focused on drinking you can always suggest something different.  You’re working on a New You, it’s ok to break some traditions and do things differently this year!

 

  • SELF-CARE ISN’T SELFISH – Make sure “time for yourself” is on your Christmas to do list!  Ok so you’re not drinking, why not use that spare money to book  a massage, get your nails done, treat yourself to something new to wear or new trainers or a sober book to keep you focused!  One thing that won’t cost you an anything is time, give yourself time to spend on YOU everyday over the holidays – take a walk on your own, have a bath, watch your favourite DVD, go to bed with a book and a hot chocolate, find your sober support group on Instagram or a blog you follow and reach out for help or jut a chat.  And something that’s going on my bucket list next year – go to the cinema on your own!  These are all things that just let you take a little time out of the chaos.  Giving you time to relax, recharge and refocus on staying sober and how amazing it is that you are doing this for yourself. YOU DESERVE IT!

 

  • IF IT REQUIRES FAKE SMILING IM NOT GOING! – This is one of my favourite quotes and since I have stopped drinking it is sooooooo true!  Now this is easier said than done at Christmas because there are some events and get togethers that you just have to go to and people who you just have to see!  Keep these meetings and events short and sweet, stay for as long as you have to then politely leave.  To be honest once people have had a few drinks they won’t really notice people coming and going anyway!  Just remember that nobody can make you reach for that drink no matter how stressful it gets! Your sobriety means more to you right now than how they make you feel.  Be selective with which events you go to, you don’t have to say yes to all of your invites, people accept it’s a busy time.  Even if that means your busy staying in for a DVD night with the kids, that is  important to YOU and that  is where you want to be.  REMEMBER YOU CANT BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYBODY!

 

  • PLAN AHEAD FOR PARTIES –  Always make sure you’ve got your own alcohol free drinks just incase there aren’t any available, and always make sure you keep a glass in your hand!  This is the number one trick as it stops people asking if you want a drink and you can avoid the (sometimes awkward)  ‘not drinking’ conversation. There are always people who fancy a brew at a party no matter where you go – and I’ve found this through my own experience!!  After a couple of hours drinking, there is always someone (normally a few people) who will say “oooh yes please” when you ask if anyone wants a tea or coffee!  Who knew that these people existed ha ha!!  Try it next time and you will be surprised.  And if all else fails and you need to get out of there ASAP, then YOU CAN – you drove, it’s a  win win situation !

 

  • PLAY FAST FORWARD – Accept that alcohol is going to be everywhere and don’t get caught up in all of the advertisements that glamorise alcohol.  Yes you may fancy a Baileys on ice, sat by a roaring fire – but just stop there and press fast forward.  The reality is your working your way through the bottle, torturing yourself with ideas of moderation and ‘just one more’, next thing your moving onto the wine and its a full on session, leading to a hangover from hell tomorrow with most of the day wasted, feeling crap!!  One of my first and strongest cravings was after I put the Christmas tree up that first year in 2016, normally I would be opening the mulled wine the second we switched the fairy lights on!  But nope that wasn’t  happening that year and boom the craving hit me so hard, I was angry, annoyed, why couldn’t I just have a drink??  So instead I walked down to our local cafe in the village and had a coffee and a big fat piece of cake with my girls and my Mum. We walked home, in the dark all snuggled up looking at all the Christmas lights in people’s houses. By the time we got home the craving had well and truly gone, I had forgotten about that mulled wine and I was feeling pretty pleased with myself!  I had done it! I hadn’t given in! So be prepared and ready to do something to take your mind away from the craving – IT WILL PASS ands next time it happens you will be stronger for any others that rear their ugly heads in the future! – read more at Don’t Let Triggers Kill Your Progress!

 

  • BE REALISTIC! – Don’t expect too much and set yourself up for an emotional melt down!  Just because you are in the process of changing doesn’t mean that everyone else is.  People will still get drunk, kids will argue and get over tired, the dog will try to eat the tree , or turkey or both!! (It’s our first year with the pup and this could happen- hes a labrador afterall!)  Accept that things aren’t perfect, perfect is boring, tell yourself you are perfectly imperfect and you can deal with anything this Christmas throws at you because you are  CHOOSING to spend it STRONG AND SOBER!

 

  • KEEP ACTIVE & GET OUTSIDE – no one expects you to start training for a marathon over the holidays but try to plan to do SOMETHING outside every day!!   This can be anything from a 30 minute walk or run or if your lucky enough to have snow, an energetic snowball fight with the kids!  If you have got children make the most of getting outside with them, especially if they’ve got new bikes or outdoor toys to play with!  Be the fun relative that actually gets OFF the settee instead of sitting in a carb coma with a bottle of wine by your side!  My first sober Christmas was spent at my sister’s house because we take turns each year.  Normally I would do exactly that and veg on the settee, carrying on drinking (Christmas day drinking started 11 ish until bedtime, no question, EVERY year!) So instead I got us all wrapped up and took myself, my hubbie and all the kids on a walk to the park, including the dogs.  You can imagine we had the whole park to ourselves and the kids loved it!  It was different, it was FUN!

 

  • MAKE THE MOST OF IT –  If you have got a few days off work around Christmas – just make the most of it!  This is a time when drinking used to be the main activity, once you take that away the options are endless.  Focus on the New Year and starting 2019 feeling fresh and recharged, with new goals and plans to continue on your journey of being the best you can be, alcohol free!

 

 

There are a lot of ideas and suggestions here and I know they won’t all work for everyone, but these are what worked for me!.  I’m coming up to my third sober Christmas and honestly, alcohol or the absence of it doesn’t really cross my mind now.  I know I can have a fantastic Christmas if not the best Christmas without drinking.  If like me you have young children who are growing up soooo fast, just treasure the sober memories that you make with them this year.  My youngest is nine and I know that this will be her last year of believing, I am just so grateful that I get to remember all of it with no alcohol involved – I get to feel the natural, pure excitement that she feels and you seriously can not beat that!

Give yourself the gift of a sober Christmas this year, you will not regret it!

I hope these tips help someone in some way, if anyone has any other ideas or advice for a successful sober Christmas, please comment and share your ideas.

And if your off on your holidays over Christmas my next blog will cover sober holiday tips too!

Happy Christmas Chaos Guys, LETS DO THIS!

Angie xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change Involves A Challenge!

Change Involves A Challenge!

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When I started my blog I had no intention of setting up the Lifting Weights Not wine exercise challenges, they just sort of happened!  Initially they helped give me content for my Instagram page @liftingweightsnotwine and now I’ve ended up having a few messages asking to start another one!  So on Monday 12th November I will start a new 40 day challenge that will run up to the 21st December, which is perfect timing for Christmas.

I don’t know about you guys but I am certainly someone who likes to journal or chart any sort of progress I am making.

For years I was obsessed with writing down my weight and aiming for a certain (normally unrealistic) goal in a specific time frame (unhealthy obsession I know!)

Then when I became aware that my drinking was getting worse and I wanted to cut down/stop, I downloaded the Drinkaware App.  Now this App is brilliant BUT you have to be honest with what you put into it, and that was my problem! You would find me fiddling my units on a sunday night in an attempt to make my weekend alcohol intake look better!

Then once I had stopped drinking, I (like every other soberista out there) started tracking my days and weeks of sobriety.  This stopped when I got to one year and now I track it monthly along with the exercise challenges to keep me motivated!

OK, so I know it looks like I’m a bit of a crazy woman writing down and tracking all of these things but it all refers back to one thing………………………….

MOVING FORWARD AND WANTING TO CHANGE!!

Here’s the thing, if you want to make your life better, you’re going to have to challenge yourself!

It’s so easy to stay the same, especially when it comes to our lifestyles.  We are in our own comfort zone and although we may be unhappy with how we look and feel,  that feeling is “easier” than taking on the challenge to change.  How we are is the norm, it’s what we are used to and it’s how our friends and family are used to seeing us.  Its comfy. Its normal. Its easy!

Personally I feel that we live in a society where drinking is considered normal.  I know I have had a lot of raised eyebrows when ive told people I don’t drink anymore, which is crazy when you think if I told people I don’t do crack cocaine anymore they would give me a pat on the back and think I was amazing! (Anyway I could blog about that all night long but I will save it for another post!)   We are so embedded into the drinking culture that surrounds us that its hard to escape,  its hard to make the change as we get pressure from around us to remain the same and stick with the “norm”!

Some changes are inevitable and we just have to accept them, like growing old, ill-health, financial situations, relationships etc some changes  WILL occur and there is nothing you can do but accept them and adapt.

The real challenge is when you decide to make a change yourself .

Stopping drinking was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, it was a huge challenge, it wasn’t easy but I just knew that I couldn’t stay the same.  I had to move from the place I was in, I was unhappy and unhealthy and I didn’t want to continue feeling the way that I did.  But by doing it I have proved to myself that I am capable of so many other things, I can push myself outside of my comfort zone and achieve so many other things with my life.  So now it’s opened up the door to lots of other challenges for me such as; focusing on a new career, pushing myself physically, wanting to learn and do new things and having an outlook that life really is one big adventure!

You have got to keep challenging yourself to change, yes its hard, yes you feel stressed and  uncomfortable at the thought of it but at the end of the day its the only way you will get there.  And in no time at all the ‘old you’ will be what makes you feel uncomfortable and the new you and how you live your life will become the norm for yourself and everyone around you.

So start right now – set the challenge – write it down – and make the change! And if you need some accountability or support then join me on Monday for my 40 day exercise challenge, tie it in with no alcohol and you will be feeling AMAZING by Christmas! And who knows you may want to spend this christmas sober! (Sober Christmas blog post coming soon)

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Any advice, tips or questions then please comment below or just to let me know how things are going for you on your sober journey?

Angie xx

 

 

 

Hangover Free Half-Term!

Hangover Free Half-Term!

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So half-term is almost over, and it has been an action packed one for me and my family!

A while ago I shared a post titled A Sliding Doors Weekend…..which basically was about life being so different for me after kicking the booze.  And this half term has certainly been a “sliding doors” kind of week!

We started the half term at the beautiful Whinfell Center Parcs in the Lake District.  I think holidays are a time when I definitely see a big difference in myself now that I am sober.  We try to visit Center Parcs every year since we’ve had children, it’s just somewhere that we all love.  Now the only time that I haven’t drunk on a Center Parcs holiday was when I was pregnant with my second daughter.

So for me normally it’s  typical “holiday” mode drinking!  Starting as soon as I get there to “start” the holiday off with wine at lunch, then a few beers in the pool, followed by wine whilst getting ready at the lodge and into the evening whether we are going in or out for tea.  Needless to say I have had some horrendous hangovers whist I have been there, and normally would be counting down to a decent hour that I could have a drink to feel better.

The last two times I have been I have been sober and  I have definitely noticed the difference.  Take away the alcohol and you really get a feel for what Center Parcs is all about!  I have had a weekend of feeling full of energy, we did so much more and seemed to pack our days full.  I woke up every morning feeling raring to go, compared to how I used to sit trying to stomach breakfast, watching people run past on an early morning run and just not getting how people did that???? And now, that WAS me, early morning runs and feeling fresh after a fab nights sleep after falling into bed physically, exhausted.  And when we came home I felt recharged, still tired after a full on weekend, but a weekend full of life not full of wine!

For the rest of the week we have been on bike rides, baking, pumpkin carving (obviously!), had dvd nights with home-made popcorn, been to Liverpool for a shopping trip, plus I had a girls night out on Friday.

Before I stopped drinking I still loved the time spent with my girls but drinking would slowly creep in, taking my focus away from them.  For example I would want to get them to bed so I could ‘chillout’ and have a bottle of wine, I wouldn’t have the patience to sit through a dvd or make popcorn.   I would make the most of not having to get up for the school run and drink every night, leaving me feeling totally rubbish the next day.  We still did things together and went to places but my hangover anxiety would creep in and we wouldn’t venture very far!

On top of the drinking I would eat rubbish ALL week and just forget any ideas of exercise.  Now this week yes I have had some lovely treat food (Café rouge thankyou for the best donuts with dark chocolate dipping sauce EVER!) and I have purposely had some rest days to give my body a chance to recharge, but I have also been active on walks, bike rides etc to balance it out.

People think that by stopping drinking that you are giving something up and missing out.  Personally I feel (and I hope I am showing) that this isn’t the case at all!  My life and especially holidays and times together with the family, have become even richer and fulfilled.  I am getting more out of our time together (and with my eldest being a tween I am not sure how many more holidays she will want to spend with me!).

The thought of sober holidays can make you feel anxious and worried.  Holidays are a time when we just know we will be drinking more, after all we ‘deserve’ it don’t we???  On average we drink three times more than normal when we are on holiday!  That’s the norm, its just what we do isn’t it?

But ask yourself – was your last holiday a time that you recharged your batteries, looked after yourself, tried something new?  Or was it just like all the other holidays, eating and drinking to excess, coming home in need of a holiday?

It’s also about what happens after the time off, when life returns back to normal and school and work resume.  For me that used to be the worst!  The horrendous anxiety and fear that I was going  back to some sort of structure and early mornings again.  Feeling drained but trying to plan to exercise and lose the weight I had gained over the week, attempting to detox my body.  On top of that I am not one of these parents who look forward to the kids going back to school, (there is nothing at all wrong with being like that) it’s just that as I work from home it all goes very quiet when they go back and I miss having them around.  So true to form I would be drinking wine as a last chance to make myself feel better!

So yes,  I may feel a little sad that normality resumes tomorrow, but I am also feeling positive and refreshed ready to face the week ahead.  We have had a fab week and made some amazing memories for my little family, and I am now ready for the hectic countdown to Christmas!

Have you got a holiday coming up? Or have you just had your first sober half term if you’re doing sober October, how did it go? Any sober survival tactics that you can share?

Wishing you all a fabulous hangover free week ahead!

Angie xx