While it might be a merry Christmas for many, some of us will be struggling this festive period. Here are our tips on how to handle it.
It’s no wonder that the holidays see many of us return to hospital to battle our addictions. Hospitals are full at this time of year, all with people infected by the sadness of being alone at this supposedly happy time of year. Societal expectation has us comparing ourselves to how we think things should be. If we don’t spend enough on the kids, if we are alone, if we aren’t smiling as much as the people in the commercials – all of this takes its toll.
Now add to this already hefty plate of issues the fact that some of us are addicts and former addicts. What greater temptation could there be to go back to the world of substance abuse, than at Christmas time. The festive season is when we indulge ourselves when many of us give in to excess. For an addict, this is a dangerous path. Recovery takes a long time and we put so much effort into it. It’s terrifying to think that an obese man in a red suit could make us wobble… but he does.
The best we can do, therefore, is to prepare ourselves for a bumpy road and keep in mind that every year that passes, this will become easier. One day, you will get through the Christmas period without thinking about alcohol or drugs. Until then, here are some Help4Addiction top tips to stay away from the cravings, this holiday time.
Top Tips for Battling Addiction During Christmas
When we are with our family for extended periods of time, it can be worn. Here are some ways you can keep yourself on the straight and narrow path, this Christmas.
Our first tip is that you are honest with your loved ones. If you feel yourself start to really struggle, or if the cravings are particularly intense, trust in the people around you to help you pick up the pieces. They are trained in what to do to help you. If you have been addicted to cocaine, or cannabis, or alcohol, or any other drug that might make an appearance in your social circles this Christmas, tell people you are struggling. It might even convince them not to give you any, even if you do slip.
Consider the Environment
Before you go to that Christmas party, or before you visit that old friend in your home town, think carefully about the environment you will be placing yourself in. Will you be offered drink or drugs? Will you be in danger of accepting due to peer pressure or your own current feelings? If so, then it’s time to remove yourself from the line of fire and go back home instead.
Watch out for Hidden Ingredients
One thing we hear time and time again is that the relapse victim didn’t know there was alcohol in the pudding, sauce, cheese, or any other food item on the table. Some Christmas foods are rich in alcohol and, while it might not be enough to get you drunk, it is enough to give you a taste of what you have been avoiding. Christmas is especially difficult for a former alcoholic since they need to check the ingredients of all the dishes.
It’s better to be an annoying house guest than it is to relapse. You can use our sobriety calculator if you need to.
Remember your Support Network
Your support network doesn’t go anywhere. They remain the same even if you make a full and complete recovery. Check inn with them, not just during the holidays, but at any time of the year when you feel vulnerable. Use the support strategies that you learned when you were first in recovery. These are like tools you can fall back on when you need them.
Consider a Support Group
If you are really struggling not to take that smoke or drink, or if you find yourself scouring the bathroom cabinet for something to take the edge off, remember there are groups you can attend for help. Reach out to an AA group or give Help4Addiction a call and we can have a chat about things. Our specially trained advisers are happy to help talk you through rehab options near you. Nobody wants to have to go back to rehab for a second treatment, but it’s far better to spend a week in rehab than a month trying to recover again.
Whatever you do this festive season, hang in there. We are proud of how far you have come. Keep up the good work.