Sunday, December 28, 2014

A sober Christmas in photos..

Ever since I joined Instagram I've been thinking more about images I can use to promote recovery and illustrate my sober life. Instagram (features big photos with captions as long as you like) offers a slightly different outlet to this blog (words mostly), Living Sober (loads of words and interactions), Facebook (some pictures and words and links) and Twitter (links mostly, short words and some photos). Each online outlet has a slightly different personality in my mind.

I'm a social media slut for sure - but I don't care! I love being sober and I love sharing about my sober lifestyle. It's fun, it helps keeps me off the sauce and hopefully helps some other folks too.

Anyway, this past week ended up being very much about photos for me - I kept looking for images that I could use to illustrate my third sober Christmas.

I found myself snapping a photo at my Mum's house one evening last week and sharing it on Instagram with the caption: "The best chamomile tea in the world, candlelight, toffee biscuits AND Christmas cake!! Who needs wine? #notme #sobriety #recovery".

A couple of my sisters commented online that this teapot of mums was the 'best in the land'. That was fun (we only communicate via social media in our family ha ha). They're right - it is a magnificent teapot that pours brilliantly, for sure.

Then at my sister-in-law's house a couple of days later I spied a bottle of wine in a ridiculous 'costume' that had been gifted to her by a client - couldn't resist snapping a pic of it and sharing it with the caption: "Devil in disguise?! #sobriety #recovery"

I mean, honestly……

The next day I spent an obscene amount of money on limes and ginger because I'd decided I wanted to take full control of my liquids and was sick of sugary sodas. Another photo opportunity for Instagram! This one captioned: "Got my drinks organized for Christmas! $25 worth of limes. Bloody expensive but only a fraction of what I'd have spent on booze in the past. Squeeze half a lime into a glass of soda water, add a few slices of peeled fresh ginger and ice cubes - sorted! #refreshing"

Then I made the drink and shared a photo of that on Twitter (told you I was a social media slut).

Got loads of favorites and comments including one from my friend JJW (he writes awesome posts like this and this on Living Sober) which said "LIMES! You high roller". Yes Jackson, you are right, they were bloody expensive and I am a high roller.

At this point I was private messaged a photo on Twitter of one of our Living Sober members smiling broadly and holding out a glass containing a creamy mocktail. The message read "Having fun trying different drinks! Yay! #soberchristmas". Honestly the sight of her smiling face made me cry. I wish I could share it here but won't to protect her privacy, but imagine a very happy, healthy, proud looking lady holding a glass with a straw sticking out of it in one hand and a bowl of cherries in the other.  This image made my day, no doubt about it.

Christmas Morning I decided to prep my drink ingredients to take around all the houses we were going to that day. Of course I had to take another picture to share (are we over-sharing here? Don't care, don't care!).

And look what a Twitter friend who goes by the handle @OhioSQ tweeted me back!!!

Ha ha, brilliant!!!!!!!! This made me so happy!!!!!! She's rocking the lime, soda, ginger combo too! See how great the online recovery community is? We all share, share, share and in doing so we feel connected and secure in our sober lifestyles. What's not to love…..

My online interactions through Christmas were going on left, right and centre. Living Sober was buzzing with people forging ahead with a non-drinking Christmas, the Members Feed there was full of grit, love, wisdom & support. (It bloody works that site. If you're not in there go join right now. It's free and you can be anonymous. You have to register to get into the Members Feed and that's where the amazing real-time support goes on.) Facebook - where I'd also shared a photo of my limes and ginger plus my Sober First Aid Kit - had a nice supportive feel to it with a few likes, comments and private messages coming in. Sober folks on Instagram were sharing pics that I was liking and commenting on and Twitter conversations were taking place. I'm sure all my relatives think I'm crazily addicted to the internet, truth is I was on-and-off the iPad a lot, but I still felt very connected to what is going on in the 'real world' and I think they appreciate how important my online world is to my recovery.

Last two pictures of the day - the bottle opener I won in my Christmas Cracker "#notveryuseful" ….

And finally me wearing reindeer horn hair-clips, eyes swollen from days of crying over losing a loved one, but smiling and happy. The caption read: "Feeling the Christmas love. Love my family. Love my friends. Love getting loads of scented candles! And most of all LOVE MY SOBRIETY!!!!"

Yes indeed. Hope everyone had a lovely sober Christmas. And if you didn't quite manage it this year, don't despair. Keep trying and you will get there eventually. You must - sobriety rocks. Really it does.

Love, Mrs D xxxx


  1. Yep, I certainly did have a great Christmas too. Life is last!!!! And the funny thing I have finally realised is that nobody really gives a damn if you drink or not. Can see clearly now :) S.D.

  2. Brilliant Mrs D. Got through Christmas. Carved the meat, washed the dishes, drove the car, gave everyone gifts and cards, visited my dad's grave, took the dog for a walk, interacted online, had real life conversations I can remember. Did loads of stuff basically that I wouldn't have if I'd been boozing. Because if I was boozing that would have taken up all my time and attention! It weren't even that tough either... (and to think how nervous I was in the build up!) I suppose I'll have to give you a little bit of credit for your help in telling me I was going to make it and for putting me in touch with a bunch of other helpful supportive gutsy individuals and for providing me with the tools to do it... (little bit of credit! yeah right... ALL the credit!!!! and no I don't think that's over the top, I've never managed it before, alone) So yeah, I don't care if I sound like a kiss ass or whatever, I just don't care.. I just love being sober too and I want to stay sober for my sake and for everyone else's sake.

  3. Hey Mrs D... im a new follower to yr blog.... love reading it. ANYHOO..... those bottle openers actually do have a wonderful use that has nothing to do with booze.... and lets admit it - wine comes in a screw top anyway.... I have one and it makes a great scratcher for instant kiwi tickets! Cos unless you have long nails those things are insanely difficult. So keep that bottle opener, grab a sharpie and write scratcher on it in bright pink!! OWN it.

  4. Thank you Mrs. D! Working on the don't despair part :) and you are a wonderful inspiration.

  5. I started reading your book on Dec 23rd. Got pissed that night, wicked hangover the next morning, & decided I was reading the book for a bloody reason. So, as of Dec 24th I have given up the alcohol. My 40th is tomorrow & like you I started drinking in my teens :) your story just hits me right in the heart.

    We are camping at present and not joining in the "foursies" drinking time has been hard, so for this year I am just avoiding it. I am re-reading pages 177-181 of your book a lot to keep focussed. And will probably just miss the new year party & be kind to myself instead. And right now im ok with that. Might be different in 2 days time, but for now it feels OK. Not waking up in a tent with a headache every day is pretty awesome too :)

    Thank you for your brave public honesty. I kept denying my drinking was a problem. Totally functioning mum, worker, member of society. But 1 drink is just never enough! 2015 is definitely going to be a big year. Will take it one day at a time by reading through your blog as the months progress.

    1. Dear Anonymous
      I just read your post and your initial story sounds very similar to mine - I stopped drinking as of the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving (Nov 27). I don't know if I am breaking some sort of "blog world ettiquette" but if you would like to keep up with each other and encourage each other in our journey towards a sober life I would be happy to do that. Sounds like you are off to a good start. Making wise decisions and recognizing your limits! Good Job! Keep up the fight and stay strong. Making it through my first holiday season in 18 years sans alcohol - I can whole heartedly say - It is so worth it! Mama Sue

  6. Dear Mrs. D,
    So loved this post! I'm adding fresh ginger to my lime, soda water!!
    Great idea!
    I love taking photos, and might have to look at Instagram.
    I am so thankful I got through this Christmas sober. Made the many family get togethers so much more pleasant for me, and for them too, I'm sure!

  7. Love you Mrs D, you always make me feel wonderful and normal and proud about my soberity. Had an amazing Christmas sober with family. Will be by myself for New Year as children are away but for the first time in 14years I will do it sober and be proud of myself for it. Wishing you and your family a very happy New Year.

  8. You look great! thanks for the drink idea, I'm craving one now!

  9. Merry Christmas Mrs. D. I wish you peace, love and even more much deserved success in the new year!


  10. One of the lessons I learned during this first sober Christmas was that I need to make surr I have a variety of my own tasty drinks ready. Apparently when I drink just water, I get cranky and judgmental. Not good.
    Those photos are delicious. I am a huge fan of limes. :)

  11. Sending over some New Year's Love. Thank you for the fun (and funny) posts as well as the sobering reminders of what we lose when we drink—again. You are an inspiration to me and many others.

    Perrier Cheers for the coming year of consciousness!
    much love, Lisa

  12. Dear Mrs D,

    today marks my 365th day of being sober. I have been following your blog (long-time-lurker) and read your book over Christmas. I want to thank you for being an incredible inspiration to me. I had planned to celebrate my year of sobriety with a drink - can you believe it! But your words of wisdom helped me get through what could easily have been another New-Years-gone-wrong. I hosted an NYE party and thought of you as I drove my merry friends home in the wee hours of this morning. I was (am) a party girl just like yourself and even after a year I am still not quite used to my sober-self. After all the hard work I've done and the wonderful feedback I've had from my loved ones, I feel like an imposter most of the time ...If that makes any sense. Maybe it will take a little longer to get to know the new me.

    The fact that a stranger can open up to you with something as deeply personal as this is testament to your openness, willingness embrace vulnerability and non-judgemental nature.

    Thank you, truly, for helping me.


  13. I wish I had read your blog a few days before Christmas! I had a drink Christmas Eve ( more than one if course) and it was like being plunged back into the madness, woke at 5 am to find Santa hadn't been and a part of the night was missing , ruined Christmas Day. The plus side is back on the wagon and grateful for each sober day! Will check in with you guys next time the urge takes me!

  14. I absolutely loved this post Mrs D. I love the peek into your sober world and Christmas thank you so much. I'm not on twitter or anything but facebook but I think sometimes a photo says a thousand things (like that bottle cover!!!!!!!)

    I love doing my weekly look at my sober week, makes me feel grateful for what's changing and how I'm side stepping the boozy shit that I use to just live for.

    Hugs and best of love to you and yours.