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How to enjoy a sober Christmas

Christmas can be a very lonely time for some people. Even more so when trying to get sober, so here at Port of Call we’ve compiled some handy tips on how to get help and stay sober this festive season.

Merry Christmas…for anyone on the journey to recovery from addiction, those words take on a very different meaning altogether. At this time of year, we’re encouraged to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’ Temptation is all around, from office parties, to mulled wine, supermarket promotions and wall to wall adverts for alcohol.

Sober at christmas

However, one of the tenets of AlcoholicsAnonymous teachings is that alcoholism is a progressive illness that can only be arrested through total abstinence from alcohol in any form. Similarly, Narcotics Anonymous encourages its members to abstain completely from all drugs (including alcohol) because complete and continuous abstinence provides the best foundation for recovery and personal growth.

For those in recovery, being ‘merry’ in a literal sense just isn’t an option. So how do you reach a state of substance-free happiness and wellbeing this Christmas? Trust us, it’s possible.

Take action now

A substance addiction can ruin Christmas, sapping the joy from what should ordinarily be one of the happiest days of the year. The whole season can whizz by in a blurry haze. Money which should be spent on buying presents can often end up fuelling habits. All of which can lead to the breakdown of relationships and feeling left out in the cold, at what is already considered a desperately lonely time for some people anyway.

Our rational selves know these facts all too well, but then very little about addiction is rational. Often, these negative consequences can add fuel to the metaphorical bonfire. So what is the answer? Step one, seek help. Don’t wait for Boxing Day or the New Year. Take action now – the sooner you seek support the sooner you can begin working towards recovery.

The journey to sobriety

Detox is often the start of someone’s journey when it comes to getting help. This is a process that safely and systematically helps people to withdraw from drugs and alcohol gradually and safely under the supervision of a physician. Sudden withdrawal can be life-threatening, which is why gradual detox programmes should always be carried out in a medically supervised environment.

Going hand in hand with the detox process is drug or alcohol rehab. This is a course of treatment for drug or alcohol dependency, typically carried out at a residential rehabilitation facility. Rehabs are abstinence based and provide an intensive programme of support and care seek to address underlying issues like anxiety or depression or trauma, self-esteem problems, or stress to name but a few.

Ultimately, rehab seeks to introduce you to a different, happier and healthier way of life. The thought of spending Christmas in private rehab is understandably off-putting, which is why many people will delay. But we would recommend taking action now, to fully enjoy the gift of sobriety – not just for Christmas but for life.

How do I stay sober?

‘Tis the season to be sober, but how do we stick to that? Here are some coping suggestions to consider:

  • Reach out to your support network: Talk to your counsellor, sponsor and anyone else you trust to help during this time.
  • Make a plan: Carefully consider events you plan to attend and discuss strategies for coping with temptation.
  • Stay away from trouble: Turn down invitations to any familiar hotspots where you used to indulge.
  • Devote time to yourself: Get some exercise, do some charity work – anything to keep your mind occupied.
  • Know when to say enough: Don’t be afraid to call it a night and go home if temptation comes knocking.
  • Reward yourself: Whenever you pass up a drink or other substance give yourself a treat for making the right decision.

Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. We can help you find a rehab for your addictions, so take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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