The holiday season can be a very tricky time for recovering alcoholics – especially those who have only be sober for a short period. The run-up to Christmas is a time when those people who do not have a solid recovery will be most at risk of relapse. If you are worried about how you are going to stay sober over the Christmas period then this is a sign that you need to take some action to protect your sobriety.
Why is Christmas Such a Dangerous Time for Alcoholics?
A number of reasons make Christmas such a tricky time for alcoholics. We have listed some of these below.
- This is a time of year when even those who usually don’t drink much overindulge a little. UK culture promotes the idea that people should celebrate the season using alcohol; it’s the time for parties and other events that involve drinking. Newly recovering alcoholics could feel left out of all the fun, putting them at high risk of relapse.
- Many alcoholics view Christmas as their favourite time of year because there is so much drinking going on. It means they have the perfect excuse for their excessive drinking as it can look as if everyone else is doing the same. The person who has been an alcoholic will have a strong association between Christmas and getting drunk.
- Many individuals get depressed around Christmas time. The festive atmosphere can make those who are estranged from their family feel very lonely. Those who are new to recovery, and do not have a family around them can really struggle at this time of year. Unless they are able to find some support, it is hard for them to stay committed to recovery.
- One of the other reasons why this time of year can be so dangerous for newly sober people are that there is so much free alcohol around. It is as if everywhere the person goes they are being offered something to drink. Even if the person is committed to sobriety, they can accidentally slip-up because somebody offers them a dessert or chocolate that has alcohol inside.
How to Avoid Relapse on the Run-Up to Christmas
In order to protect your sobriety over the Christmas period, you will need to take some action. Below are a few suggestions for the steps you can take.
- Recovery fellowships can be a particularly good resource at this time of year. Alcoholics Anonymous offers meetings every day – including Christmas Day – and they have special sober functions to mark the occasion. One of the nice things about spending time with AA at this time of year is that it is not only a great place to go for support, but it also makes it possible for sober people to have some festive fun.
- If you do not feel strong in your recovery, it is highly recommended that you avoid Christmas parties or anywhere alcohol is being consumed. If there is some function that you rally must attend, it might be an idea to bring along a sober friend for support; just make sure this person is well established in their sobriety or you could both end up relapsing.
- Now is a good time to fill your mind with recovery related material. This could involve reading books about addiction recovery or memoirs of people who have managed to build a good life in recovery. It is also a good idea to check out some of the free material available online – this can include things like blogs, YouTube videos, and podcasts.
- Spend time with sober people over the Christmas period. This way you will get to see that it is possible for you to have a good time without drinking. Millions of individuals actually do not drink at all at this time of year, but they just don’t get as much attention as the people who are drinking.
- Make sure that you find some ways to celebrate Christmas that do not involve alcohol. Maybe you can ask some friends around to your home and cook some dinner. If you do some research, you will also find plenty of festive activities that do not involve alcohol.