New Year’s Eve

Happy New Year, everyone! May your night be filled with La Croix and sparkles!

I can report that I have had no problem staying sober on the past few new year’s eves because I’ve been otherwise incapacitated.

To recap:

Dec 31 2015: Suffered gallbladder attack on annual family ski trip and drove myself 150km home to see the doctor, leaving my husband to cook dinner for a dozen or so guests at cabin. Spent New Years Eve alone, watching Netflix, wondering why God invented gallbladders. Here I am going for surgery a few days later. Hurray for Canadian health care!


December 31, 2016: Again, the annual family ski trip did not work out well for me. But, hey, I got out of cooking the New Year’s feast for the crowd once again! The family put together a great meal. Afterward, I laid in bed and people kept coming in to snuggle with me and visit. It was super sweet and I felt very loved. Definitely no temptation to drink champagne at midnight that year.


Which brings us to THIS year….

I’m not going to lie, I have been a little anxious leading up to today. What fresh hell might this year bring?

I awoke with a nosebleed but that was the limit of medical crisis, thankfully.  Heaps and heaps of powdery snow came down and it is truly a magical wonderland outside. Not wanting the ski patrol to drag me off the hill again the in toboggan-of-doom, I played it safe the groomed runs despite the waist-deep powder all around. It was exhilarating to be back skiing after laying around all last winter. I couldn’t stop smiling as out there, marvelling with gratitude that the body can get so sick and be so strong again in just a year.

I am having too much fun to want to spoil it by drinking!

PS – the visits to this blog have doubled over the past week, which happens every January as people consider going alcohol-free in the year ahead. The comments section of this blog have always been the heart of the magic, so I invite long-time readers to share a word of encouragement for newcomers. If you are considering sobriety, feel free to post a question or say hi in the comments (anonymous is fine!). Recovery is all about community and sharing. We are all in this together.


  1. My family takes an annual ski trip, too. I’m always in awe when I’m at the top of the mountain and look around practically gasping at how great sober living is. Your blog and the Bubble Hour have been instrumental in staying sober for four years. Thank you for keeping it real over the years. Like the ski slopes, sobriety always has its moguls to either plow through, glide gently around or back away from. All the best to you in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for your inspiration – after trying to moderate (unsuccessfully) for the last year, I’m going to attempt 30 days sober starting today. I haven’t gone more than 6 days before, so I’m very apprehensive but desperately hoping for a change. Yours was the first blog I found a year ago, and your shared experience has been invaluable in helping me accept the reality of my choices. You are amazing!


  3. So glad this new year has been healthy for you Jean. Hooray!
    I celebrated 100 days of sobriety on January 1st. Unpickled Blog was the first blog I found that really spoke to me. I was and am so grateful. I realized that I could create a recovery journey that is uniquely my own. I could create a set of tools that feel just right for me. And the sober online community has been a big part of that.
    For those considering living an alcohol free life, Jean and others have said, “I never climbed into bed at night and regretted that I had not drank.” So so true! 🙂
    Sobriety is such a gift. Not always easy. Often surprisingly awesome. Always worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish you all the best in 2018, Jean! To all of those struggling and reading this and other blogs, keep going. I’ve had more day ones than I can count, and I’m still in the early days, but I’m very hopeful. So keep going, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, there’s so much out there these days. And it’s okay if you keep having to start over. All periods of time in sobriety count. They all teach us something. Best of luck to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello! I am back, and trying again with Dry January. I really want to make it this time. You have always been a big inspiration for me, and I never miss reading your blog posts. Annie x


  6. Happy New Year everyone. I quit in May 2014 and have never regretted it. At first I couldn’t think of it being for ever as that thought would have made me rush to drink. I found Belle’s blog first “Tired of Thinking About Drinking” and signed up for the 100 day challenge and after that felt ready for another 3 months, then 6 months and so on. I also searched for and found so many great recovery blogs including this one. I was about 2 years in before I know I was ready to commit to forever as that felt right for me. Everyone’s journey is so unique and I wish you all well on your own paths, best wishes, Amanda

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am sober a little over 3 years now. Jean’s blog, The Bubble Hour podcasts, and many other online sober blogs were truly so helpful and encouraging to me. I’m in a 12 step program now but Unpickled is still my “go to” source for help and encouragement. One thing I will say to anyone thinking about not drinking now is this: You will never regret not drinking! When I was drinking, my mornings were full of remorse and regret. Not so, now. Give it a try!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy New Year everyone. I want to try sobriety again…but I’m so scared and tired of failing. Please pray for me and a new Year. I hope one day I can post how many days I’ve been sober. For today, just hoping for one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do not get down on yourself and keep trying Donna…. one day things will fall into place for you. I have been there – done that… today is my one year anniversary – but there were many false starts before that 🙂 It is not easy – but so worth it!! Good luck.


    • Hi Donna, like Kathy above I am one year and some days sober as well. On December 7th 2016 I knew my relationship with alcohol had run its course. I felt utterly helpless and powerless, and almost lost all hope that things would change for me. At that point I had accumulated quite a number of day 1s and day 30s (about 6-7 years worth). But that day I was so filled with anxiety, dread, shame and guilt, and found myself at a fork in the road: I could either continue the course of what at that point had become an slow and prolonged attempt at ending my life (I knew continued alcohol use would eventually end my life) or I could make the choice that day to not drink. That day in the midst of all that pain, I found thus blog and read it. I knew I wouldn’t drink that day because I was too hungover, but knew that the true test would come the next day when I felt better physically. Having spent that day reading this blog gave me the added strength to give it a try again, and so it went from there. I started reading reading reading, like Jean said the comments sections were also so very very helpful because it provided evidence that indeed I was not alone. I tried everything I could to distract myself, urge surf, etc. I journaled (a lot), commented on the blog posts, sought out other blogs, engaged in ALOT of distress tolerance techniques (eucalyptus essential oil and keep a rose quartz close by to fidget with to ground me). Because I was trying to quit drinking in secret (due to fear of being told that I was exaggerating, and stigma) whenever I went out with friends at first I would make something up (I’m taking antibiotics), and eventually when I felt more secure in my journey I shared with a few close friend that stopped drinking and told them why. There are still many people I have not told, and don’t feel the need to just yet as I am still working on pushing past and challenging internalized stigma, but my decision to share this with certain people who I knew would serve as supports was so so helpful. He journey has definitely not been easy, and will be a lifelong process for me, but I know that no matter what I will make a concious choice every single day to not drink. I have survived my first set of holidays sober, and am so so grateful this was the path I followed.

      This process is unique to each individual, I encourage you to think of what will work best for you, but know that if nothing else there is a group of sober warriors here cheering you on. Wishing you the best on day 1, no matter the outcome of today, please come back tomorrow and continue reading. Hugs to you,


      P.s today I take another step in my recovery: using my first name since I started posting here.

      All the best to you today,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your story sounds exactly like mine. I know I need to stop and the constant excuses are exhausting. I just want to be done with this and reading your post has given me hope that maybe I can. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Praying for your success in this new year Donna. I begin this journey along with you! Wonderful to wake up without a hangover this morning to start the year. I too am tired of failing! Perhaps that’s our bottom? Realizing that there is a different life ahead! Looking outside ourselves, to God, and others! No longer privatizing our struggles. We need each other in this life. We need prayer and His help!


    • Donna, I believe in you. It won’t be easy but it WILL be worth it. Never give up. How are you doing today – the beginning can be the hardest and it DOES get easier, I promise!


  9. Over 1500 days sober here too and all I can say is life gets so much better without booze. 2018 will see me take my family and I to my dream country for my dream job and none of it would have happened if I’d carried on drinking. It is the most positive life-changing decision you can ever make! Thank you Jean for lighting the path ahead for me too xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Jean… Today is my one year anniversary of not drinking alcohol. Not going to lie… sometimes I still want to – but I haven’t… and will continue to make conscious decisions not to because the positives so outweigh the negatives. Finding and reading your blog was an important first step on my journey and I thank you for being out there shining a light for me as I was looking for some answers and common experiences I could relate to. I would like to say to anyone who is considering quitting… it took me a while to get to the place where I knew it was time – so don’t beat yourself up if you try… stumble.. and take steps backward. Come back to the Internet… read the blogs… keep a journal… whatever it takes… and try again. Now every day I put one foot in front of the other and choose to live my days – good or bad – without the crutch of alcohol. Jean – your blog in particular spoke to…me so again – thank you for sharing your story…. I often come back to re-read some of your posts for inspiration to continue on. I wish you a Happy 2018 – hopefully injury free!! Hugs.


  11. Day 5 and I picked such a challenging time to quit again! BUT I saw the new year in which I never do because I’m normally passed out! I was sober when my teenagers and young adult children came home late…I was there to actually see them roll in safely!! I will wake up fresh and go to my spin class instead of feel like crap and want Del Taco!! Sober is a good thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was at a low point from drinking in April 2015 when I stumbled on Unlickled. It saved my marriage, my family, my lufe. I have not had a drink since that fateful day. So grateful, thank you, thank you!


  13. Happy New Year to all!
    I celebrated 4 years on Dec 18.
    I am forever grateful I made this choice and for all who have helped me along the way.
    Hard work,ya.Worth it YES!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’ve been sober almost four and a half years. When I first stopped drinking, sober blogs (and especially THIS sober blog) were my lifeline, inspiration, and time passer. I confess that there were a few months when I became obsessed with wanting to know who authored “Unpickled”. Despite my deep dive into the World Wide Web, I didn’t learn of Jean until she wanted us to know her. Thank you, Jean, for opening up your world to us. I remember reading that one needs to commit to not drinking NO MATTER WHAT. My “no matter what” of 2017 was my mother’s death in October. I did it and you can too. Blessings to all who are sober tonight and all who wish to be. New beginnings are everything.


  15. Happy New Year Jean! I was out cross-country skiing in the same spectacular powder, what a beautiful day! To all of you considering sobriety, give it a try. I reached out to Jean and Anne 549 days ago and started my journey after 30+ years of problem drinking. I have never felt better, looked better or have been so alive. Every single part of my life is immeasurably better. There were difficult moments, but they pass and the reward is so worth it. I promise.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m happy to hear there has been no medical emergency this year!
    Sending you love, stillness and peace for the new year!

    And a big welcome to anyone investigating sobriety. It is a choice you will never regret!

    Happy 2018


    Liked by 2 people

  17. It looks beautiful there and so glad you have beauty after your last two challenging New Years! I celebrated two years sober on Dec 27. I have gratitude every day. And also a few fleeting moments of nostalgia. I still remember ( imagine) myself as funnier, wittier and more insightful with a vat of Chardonnay in me. But truly suspect I wasn’t . Good luck to all of you visiting this site and contemplating ditching alcohol. It was Jean’s inspiration that did it for me. I agonized over the need to quit for over 6 months. Then it took ONE moment finally saying NO. ENOUGH! Life is clearer, deeper, more satisfying when sober. Happy 2018, and I have to say may we do a better job in the US taking care of our country. And may we not let the clowns in charge drive us to drink. !!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. So glad to see you smiling on the slopes after the physical & emotional hurdles of the last year!
    I am 15 months Sober so this is my 2nd set of holidays without drinking. When I think of it that way it seems HUGE. So instead I just stay in a 24 hour emotional cycle. I don’t think about the past or if the coming years; just today.
    Everything I was looking for in a bottle I have found in Sobriety!

    Liked by 2 people

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