Fighting Relapse at Christmas

The Christmas period can be for a some a time of overindulgence. The recovering alcoholic faces a very different problem; how to remain sober during this time of parties and social functions. Here are some helpful tips to maintain an enjoyable and sober Christmas. Christmas is a time for community spirit, letting yourself go and having fun. Sometimes this can mean partying until the early hours with our friends and the ones we love. It is fundamentally linked with alcohol. We all look foreword to Christmas celebrations, but for the recovering alcoholic it can be a nightmare that causes many issues. The fact is, the Christmas season is more likely to place the recovering alcoholic in situations where he is tempted back into old ways and put his sobriety in danger, but with good preparation, support and a  sturdy philosophy it can be a time to relax and enjoy.

 

Prepare early


Knowing what you will be doing over the Christmas period is good preparation. This way, if you know a certain social gathering may put you in a situation where you are likely to be tempted, you can prepare in advance. How will you deal with it? Do you need to let anyone know? Would it be a good idea to ask someone along who understands your position? What will be your escape routes? What devices will you use to deal with difficult scenarios? Once you have a plan of action and a safety net in place you will find you will be able to relax – you will feel more confident. Ensure old drinking rituals are replaced with your new found hobbies and meetings you really enjoy.

The support network over the Christmas


Ensure you know how regular community meetings for alcohol issues are working over the Christmas period. Will there be any special meetings? Many Alcoholics Anonymous groups have meetings on the hour every hour to share their experience, strength and hope. And you do not have to be a member to join in the groups.  How about your support network? Will they be available over the Christmas season? As always do not be afraid to ask your family and friends for support. Also keep a list of back up names and contacts you can turn to if things do not turn out as you expected. Carry the list with you at all times on your mobile phone. Your mobile phone especially will be a great tool at times when you need immediate help from a supportive friend.

Don’t isolate yourself


There is often the temptation of dealing with Christmas by hiding away from it. This can bring its own demons. Lack of exercise, boredom and isolation can lead to depression, unhealthy living and really put your recovery in danger. Taking exercise can lift the mood and be very rewarding. It also opens the gateway to new hobbies such as yoga, Tai chi, skating, and running. Christmas is also a time for helping others so consider joining a charitable organization.

Write down your feelings


Nothing is more therapeutic than writing down your feelings. Count your blessings – write out a daily gratitude list. Try writing a letter to yourself entitled “How I stayed sober at Christmas” You will be surprised how this can generate ideas, enhance confidence and ultimately lead to a really happy and safe Christmas!

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