I was driving home from running errands the other day when an ad came on the radio for seasonal beverages at the liquor store. Even though this is my third sober holiday season, I still notice signs of alcohol around every corner. The festive season seems to present an open invitation for alcohol companies to take their intensity to the next level. Honestly, I can see why it worked on me for so many years. The hype around alcohol made me feel like l was missing out if I didn’t have a drink in my hand. How do you “cheers” at Christmas dinner or on New Year’s Eve without a glass of wine or bubbly to mark the occasion?
Being able to celebrate special occasions with alcohol is as much a rite of passage as your first
legal drink at a bar. Growing up my parents let my brother and I taste small sips of wine and
beer, never anything major, and each and every time I hated it so much that I wouldn’t ask
again for a long time. Drinking wasn’t a part of my teenage years, aside from one infamous
house party (but I’ll save that story for another time). I don’t even remember whether alcohol
advertising was big in the 90s. I’m sure it was, but growing up in a home without cable tv
meant that I often missed out on the things my peers were seeing. But, somewhere along the
way drinking started to look more sophisticated, and I started to crave the confidence that
appeared to go hand in hand with drinking.
When I moved to England in my twenties I quickly assimilated their binge drinking culture. I
would spend every Christmas Eve down at the pub with my boyfriend at the time, and our
group of friends. Christmas was the one time of year when you could count on seeing people
you hadn’t seen all year, or possibly longer. Tray after tray of shots was passed around, glass
upon glass of champagne refilled. Christmas Day was often a blurry, hungover affair. I can
vividly remember being so hungover I was unable to stomach the beautiful roast lunch that my
boyfriend’s mother had made. But, much like with so many parts of the drinking culture,
Christmas Day hangovers were not only accepted but often joked about in a casual manner.
My first sober holiday season came just shy of two months into my alcohol-free journey. My
daughter and I immigrated from Canada to the U.S. on December 15th, 2020 and life was
hectic as we got settled into our new lifestyle. In my former life finding the nearest liquor
store was one of my first concerns whenever I happened to find myself in a new place.
I would have certainly already googled every liquor store in a 15-mile radius, making sure I
knew their location and store hours. I would have found any excuse to pick up some booze and
tack it onto the weekly grocery bill. I would have made my husband go out of his way to take
me somewhere I could replenish my stock. It was an exhausting way to live. Even in my
fledgling sobriety, I felt proud knowing that I wouldn’t be spending another holiday season
chained to alcohol.
Hearing that ad the other day made me realize how irrelevant alcohol is to me now. Sure, I
share openly about my experience with addiction, and doing so helps me as much as it helps
others. But I don’t feel even the slightest twinge of envy or sadness as I drive by the liquor
store, most of the time I don’t even notice it. What I felt the other day was an overwhelming
sense of gratitude for the freedom I have created in sobriety. Letting go of alcohol made space
for so many more meaningful things in my life, including making new family Christmas
traditions! I’m excited to see what this Christmas brings and I can’t wait to take you along for
You can find Kezia on Instagram@thesoberelephantchronicles Instagram Link where she offers daily sobriety support, motivation, and inspiration. She has been sober since November 1st, 2020.
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