Enjoy your Christmas
Many people trying to recover from alcohol problems or dependency dread the Christmas season. They tend to have bad memories particularly if they are in early recovery – good memories may come later. They remember tension, binges and rows and unrealistic expectations which bring huge let downs. Some who get through this testing time become complacent – so relapse later, maybe telling themselves they need a ‘reward’ after not drinking over the Christmas season. So here are a few pointers that may help you to stay on track with healthy positive change.
- Don’t think about what you can’t have or get from others over Christmas. Think of what you are gaining by not drinking.
- Don’t hide away and isolate yourself.
- Don’t project by thinking too far ahead about ‘what ifs’ (it’s ok to plan, but you may overload anxiety levels and justify taking a drink to calm down, by thinking about the future).
- Don’t procrastinate or become complacent by believing you are totally immune from any triggers to drink again. Be on your guard and take appropriate action to stay safe.
- Don’t go somewhere without a ‘get out clause’ – make it easy to leave a situation.
- Don’t hold back on letting others know how you are feeling.
- Don’t spend your Christmas people-pleasing. This just leads to resentment later and then possibly a drink.
- Don’t forget to keep in mind (or written on a pocket sized card) your motives for staying stopped.
- Concentrate on what you will gain by not drinking.
- Allow yourself some treats with balance and variety in activities.
- Whilst away why not use the telephone to call or text friends in recovery who understand.
- Use Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or phone the helpline on 0800 9177 650.
- If you already go to AA meetings get a sponsor to help you through a 12 step programme, and a commitment, like making tea at a group you like.
- Take responsibility for removing yourself from potentially risky situations.
- Avoid ‘wet’ places (where alcohol will be drunk or being served). Or make your home ‘an alcohol free zone’.
- Tell all those around you, you won’t be drinking. Make clear your own reasons for doing so.
- Take one day at time. Remind yourself that it is only necessary for you to stay off of alcohol. The next day you can make the decision again just for one day.
- Concentrate on what you have gained by not drinking and write down a list of things you could be grateful for because of this, e.g. more money, or better sleep patterns.
To have realistic expectations and to be easier on yourself. Have some fun, recovery is to be enjoyed. Remain grateful for being sober and clear headed and keep company with supportive people wherever possible.