Recovery At Christmas
I want to start by wishing you all the best at this time of year. But, for now, I want to talk to the addicts amongst us. I don’t need to tell you this can be a really hard time of year. I’m coming up to 4 years sober and I know the temptations that rear their heads about now. I’m no expert but just wanted to share some thoughts.
Firstly, harm reduction. This is a time of huge and gross excess, so much booze consumed and left in chunky puddles on the pavement or down the toilet. A time of maybe buying that extra gram cos its Christmas or having to use a new dealer cos your usual guy is dry. Be aware of the amount you are drinking/using and what it is. If its booze, know the percentage and whether they’re pub doubles or home doubles. If its the substance of your choice, be sure what your taking is safe. Even if you’re gonna wake up with a hangover or a come down, make sure you wake up!Keep in mind why you’re drinking/using. Don’t over analyse at this point, but have it at the back of your head. I don’t want to be a buzz kill, but doing this can help to slow your intake.
For those who are thinking of giving up, I would advise that this isn’t the time of year to do so. When planning my detox I toyed with the idea of doing it in November. My key worker asked me if, honestly, I could face Christmas and New Year newly sober. So, I decided January would be better and it was. But during that Christmas I didn’t go all out as if I had to drink the world dry. It was a time to experiment with moderation and to really focus on how much I hated hangovers. I wasn’t enjoying drinking then, it was something I had to do. And by the time 8th of January came round, I was ready. I’d had enough. But if you are going to give dry January a go, or dry any month, talk to your GP first.
If this is your first sober/clean Christmas, well done. But now is not the time to reward yourself for doing so well. I’d be amazed if cravings don’t rise over the festive period. Remember that cravings will pass. They can be down right unpleasant but they do pass. Do what you have been doing during the year to keep yourself sober/clean, be that affirmations, meditations, exercise, quiet time, meetings, talking to your sponsor. If you don’t repeat your successes, you won’t be successful. In the end, do what you have to do. Weigh up waking on Boxing Day or New Years Day having stayed sober against waking knowing that you have to start again. This said, we’re not made of stone. IF you lapse, get back on that wagon quickly! Don’t let a lapse become a relapse.
For those of us lucky enough to have survived this merry time sober before, I implore you to look out for those who haven’t. It really doesn’t take much to encourage someone struggling. Share your wisdom with someone, make yourself approachable. Obviously don’t put yourself at risk, but nothing reinforces sobriety like teaching others, if they ask. And for those really lucky people who don’t have a habit, addiction, problem, or whatever you may call it, please don’t tempt, goad, guilt trip, or god forbid, spike others who do. Show them the support they deserve and be glad its not you.
Look, I’m not here to preach and, really, you can do what you want. Its all about choice. I just hope you choose to be safe, informed and choose to have a Christmas you will remember for the right reason. Happy Holidays all!