Staying Sober This Christmas and New Year
Christmas is a wonderfully joyful time for many people, it can also induce fear and terror in others. A period when everyone is meant to be happy and perfect creates a pressure that can be hard to fulfil. The holiday period can actually create isolation, depression anxieties, not to mention temptations for those working a programme of change, staying sober, managing cravings etc.
Here are some top tips for staying sober and managing your programme during the festive period:
- Reduce the potential for stress
Christmas shopping, spending money you can’t afford, queues, crowds, may all induce stress and make drinking or using drugs very appealing; previously we used drugs and alcohol to cope with stress, didn’t we? Avoid the shops at busy times, shop online, try discount shopping or minimising the quantity of pressies you buy will reduce stress on your bank account and wellbeing and make it just a little easier to cope with life without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
- Have your own sober celebration
Avoiding all celebrations is not particularly realistic, however if you host the party you can set the tone. Serving a variety of mocktails, fruit juices, great food and canapes sets the tone and great fun can be had by all with no lapses, hangovers and drunken rows to manage.
- Stay close to your support network
We know that we need support to maintain and sustain our recovery; people who care about us and are personally strong in their recovery or who are not addicted. Maintain attendance at your meetings, whatever the flavour and if/when things feel stressful, call, text or get together with at least one person you feel comfortable with and can rely on for support and encouragement.
- Avoid Triggers
Knowing your personal triggers and avoiding them is imperative in addiction treatment and recovery. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy at his time of year, as family members, celebrations and Christmas related stress may be triggers themselves. If you can’t completely avoid these triggers, minimise their impact by spending time talking with supportive and positive people rather than those who you know will induce stress and make the use of substances feel appealing
- Don’t isolate yourself
Spend time with supportive and encouraging people, your spouse or partner, family member or a good friend. During potentially stressful times, spend time with someone who loves and supports you. Life is harder when done alone, it induces isolatory behaviours and loneliness and makes substances more appealing. Stressful situations are easier when experienced with supportive friends, family and/or loved ones, thereby reducing the likelihood of lapse.
If you are a family member, friend or carer who has lost someone to addiction, our thoughts, love and prayers go out to you. This time of year, is particularly a time for getting together, spending time with those we love; sadly, it’s also a time to remember those we’ve loved and lost. We honour and respect your loss, blessings to you all.
Stay on the Western Counselling blog and read our previous article