Christmas can be a difficult time of year for anyone struggling with alcohol addiction. At all of the Christmas gatherings and social events we are surrounded by alcohol and people who are enjoying it. Not everyone finds Christmas to be such a joyful experience. It can be a particularly difficult period for those individuals who are battling with an alcohol addiction. There is so much temptation Christmas. Such individuals may need to take precautions to ensure that they enjoy a sober Christmas.
At this time of year there can be a great deal of media promotion for alcohol consumption. Even family shows will have scenes where people are enjoying themselves while drinking. This is probably the most dangerous time of year for alcoholics and some of them do relapse. Those who return to alcohol may try to tempt other friends in recovery to join them.
The build up to Christmas can be financially difficult for many people in recovery. If they have Children, they will need to buy presents. There might also be the expectation that they organize a Christmas meal. This can be difficult if people have not yet managed to sort out their finances.
Christmas can be a particularly challenging time for people who are in early recovery. As people mature in sobriety they become better at managing themselves at Christmas. They can then enjoy it fully without any need of alcohol.
Christmas can be a time of year that active alcoholics look forward to. There is a great deal of alcohol consumption going on over the Christmas period and this is the perfect conditions for alcohol abuse. Even the behavior of a hardened drinker can appear normal during the festive season. When people become sober, they can remember how much they enjoyed drinking at Christmas. Some reminiscing may encourage them to romance the drink, and this can lead to relapse.
In the lead up to and during Christmas, it is normally a time to bump into old acquaintances at social gatherings. If these people are still drinking, they may try to tempt the sober individual to rekindle their friendship over an alcoholic beverage. It can be hard to say no to such invitations.
There are many parties and other drinking opportunities over the Christmas period. There can be a great deal of pressure on people to indulge. Even those who generally do not touch alcohol will have a few glasses at Christmas. This means that there can be overwhelming pressure for those who are not yet comfortable with saying no.
Christmas is a time when people can feel incredibly lonely, especially those who are estranged from their family. Loneliness is a dangerous emotion for people in recovery, because it can act as a relapse trigger. Such individuals may decide that life in recovery is unsatisfying or that they are unable to handle their negative emotions. They may view their only solution as a return to addiction.
Some recovering alcoholics can find themselves enjoying watching other people consume alcohol. This type of activity may appear harmless, but it can actually lead the individual back into their addiction.
Families are expected to come together over the holiday season. Such gatherings can be joyful, but they may also be incredibly stressful. Those who are newly sober can struggle when spending so much time with relatives, particularly if they feel that their behavior is being judged in any way.
If people are newly sober it is best if they avoid getting into a situation where they are surrounded by people who are consuming alcohol and get help when it is needed. Sometimes it is difficult to avoid Christmas parties and such occasions. There are things that people can do to reduce the risk of problems when attending these parties:
The most important factor in handling these occasions is to never take them lightly. Even those individuals who have been sober a few years can be overcome at a celebratory occasion where alcohol is served. The urge to drink can come from nowhere, and it can be intense. People need to be prepared for how they will react if such thoughts and cravings occur.
It may be helpful if people practice saying no to alcohol before they attend the party. They can do this by using role play techniques. Some individuals can be particularly persistent when trying to get others to drink alcohol so it is best to be prepared for such people. There is no need to give a long-winded explanation for not drinking. This often only invites more questions. Sometimes the best solution is to just give a firm no and leaving it at that.
Bringing along another sober friend in recovery can be of great benefit. It is vital that this other individual already has a strong sobriety. Otherwise, it would be putting their recovery at risk as well.
It can also be beneficial if the individual brings along some recovery resources with them. Carrying around something like the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book might be a bit conspicuous, but modern technology makes it possible to have such resources discretely on your person. Having an iPhone or Android smart phone enables access many recovery apps. It is even possible to read the Big Book online.
If people feel that they are in any risk of relapse, they should leave the party immediately. Those who are in AA will want to go straight to a meeting or call their sponsor. Those who do not belong to a fellowship can call a trusted friend or a therapist. The key thing is not to ignore the event.
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If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, and get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our counselors today for information at +353 (21) 488 7110 or email us at Email Us We can help you.