Christmas, although celebrated across the globe for bringing magic and joy to an otherwise desolate few months, can be particularly difficult for those who struggle with mental health or addiction issues. December is renowned for over-indulgence, work parties and events where alcohol can often be an unavoidable component. It can also be a stressful period of time, where feelings of isolation are enhanced, or you find yourself surrounded by toxic members of family you’d otherwise avoid. But you owe it to yourself to stay sober and maintain the recovery you worked so hard for. Here are 5 tips to help you stay sober in the run-up to Christmas.
Staying connected with your fellowships, friends and family during this time is imperative. If you feel you are struggling, don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out, make a point of attending more meetings than usual. If you are travelling somewhere for Christmas, make a note of the closest AA meetings to your destination and try and attend them. If this is not possible, there are plenty of virtual meetings that happen all day long, seven days a week. Telling as many people as you feel comfortable with that you’re staying sober is always a good idea, as it makes you more accountable and this can help you stay sober. Equally, if you feel yourself surrounded by heavy drinkers on Christmas day, a meeting can be just what you need to remove yourself from a stressful situation and limit your time around alcohol.
Have a Plan for Dealing with Offers of Alcohol
If you are in recovery, most likely your family and friends know about it. You may have chosen not to share with colleagues or those who aren’t in your closest circle, however, and so it is good to be equipped to be able to refuse offers of alcohol. Perhaps drive to your destination and therefore ensure you are the designated driver. Equally, it is okay to say ‘I don’t drink’ and expect people to respect your decision. If you find yourself surrounded by people that cannot accept that you are not drinking, it is best to remove yourself from the situation entirely. Sometimes showing your face at these events is more than enough!
One of the greatest methods to strengthen your recovery is to help others. You are at higher risk of relapse if you remain self-absorbed. Instead, help others in the fellowship if you feel up to it. If you don’t feel your sobriety is strong enough to work with another addict, there are other avenues of charity. You could volunteer in your local soup kitchen, help at your local food bank or partake in other charitable endeavours. Volunteer work can also help with keeping feelings of isolation at bay, as you will be surrounded by people and keeping busy.
There is a plethora of festive activities that you can enjoy that do not require drinking. Attend a wreath-making class with your spouse, go Christmas shopping, go and see some Christmas lights or simply relax at home and enjoy some movies. You could even treat yourself to something special for Christmas to reward yourself for the hard-work you’ve gone through in recovery! Your new life in recovery should not feel burdensome, rather you should be able to celebrate your sobriety in new and exciting ways.
Give Your Family the Gift of a Sober Christmas
The greatest gift you can give to yourself or any of your loved ones this year is to remain sober. There is no doubt the quality of your life has improved since you gave up alcohol, and you owe it to yourself to enjoy the new life you have made for yourself and the people who care about you.
If you have not dealt with your drinking problems yet, or you do begin to relapse, we strongly advise you to consider joining a rehab over the Christmas period. Though the prospect of having a Christmas in rehab may seem daunting, it may be the best and safest place for you to be. You will be surrounded by others in the same position as you, away from temptations and in the perfect environment to change your life in light of the new year. Give yourself the gift of rehab and a chance at a new life this Christmas. For information regarding admissions to our rehab in Spain, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org