Holiday cheer for the sober
(TULSA, Okla.) If you ask Jeff Thompson if he’s able to hang for the holidays with people who sip spiked sprite or chug a chocolate martini, he’d say, ‘Absolutely yes! No problem!’
Twenty years ago might have been a different story, though. Thompson told us he has been sober 19 years.
“Almost everybody that knows me knows that I’m sober,” Thompson said.
In fact, Thompson said he checks in with his sponsor on a regular basis and regularly meets his sponsor for coffee.
“I’ve been pretty transparent with my co-workers and my friends,” he said.
Thompson, the campus director at Mother Road Market in Tulsa, said that the holidays add additional stress with the sense of obligation, perhaps interacting with family you aren’t used to being around, and those things can be triggering for some.
“Connecting with the sober community is really, really important,” he said.
According to alcohol.org, alcohol consumption increases during the holidays, and the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day accounts for the most extreme cases of alcohol consumption.
Overindulging isn’t difficult for some.
“An alcoholic doesn’t need an excuse to drink,” Thompson said.
Which leads to a solution that many bar owners have taken ahold of in order to embrace inclusion for all—the mocktail.
“I think it’s important to know where you can get a mocktail if you’re going to be at a holiday party,” Thompson said.
Thompson said if he goes to a party, sometimes he will just BYOB it—Bring Your Own (non-alcoholic) Beer.
“That way I don’t have that sense of being the odd duck out,” Thompson said. “At the same time, I’m not drawing attention to the fact that I’m not drinking.”
At Mother Road Market, The WEL Bar has got the mocktails covered.
“Mocktails say ‘we see you, and we know you’re there, too,’” Thompson said.
At The WEL Bar, any cocktail can be made in to a mocktail. The bartenders make their drinks from scratch, each with depth and something interesting about them.
Recently, they created their take on SweeTarts. Stubborn soda, lemon-lime, a half ounce of lime juice and some grenadine make that pink drink.
They are also working with distributors to have ready-made bottled drinks on-hand.
“O’Doul’s Amber actually tastes like a microbrew. I don’t miss beer when I have one of those. It’s just as refreshing as any beer ever was,” Thompson said.
No matter what reason you choose to forgo the booze, Thompson said you can celebrate your sobriety without any judgment for others. In fact, he says, he can be there for people who choose to partake as their designated driver.
“I think it’s important for me as a sober person to put people at ease. I don’t begrudge anybody the freedom to imbibe if that works for them,” he said.
Click here for some more mocktail recipes to try this holiday season.
If you are wanting help to get sober, contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline.