SURVIVE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR
HELP PEOPLE IN EARLY RECOVERY
Christmas and new year, plus the few weeks immediately after when people can feel complacent, are the riskiest times of the year for relapse back to alcohol/drugs. Preparations must start in November to avoid a crisis and instead build a template for future healthy, happy christmases. Deirdre Boyd brings advice from established experts in addiction recovery.
This page has top tips from Castle Craig Hospital in Scotland and the Netherlands; its services extend to an oxygen chamber for the most physically-damaged patients.
Read more top recovery tips from:
+ Kirby Gregory of Action on Addiction (patron: the Duchess of Cambridge)
+ Mike Delaney of Bayberry Clinic, which also treats impaired professionals
+ Tessa Corner of StreetScene, who highights multicultural activities
+ Mo Dunne of Hebron Trust, which specialises in women’s issues
+ Mount Carmel in London which offers aftercare for life.
Print-friendly advice from all 7 rehabs:
Download AddictionToday139 – Survive christmas
Castle Craig Hospital in Scotland offers these suggestions.
o Avoid volatile family situations. Many people feel pressured to be with family at holidays but that can be a relapse trigger if there is a lot of drinking or there are strained relationships
o Invite friends and acquaintances from Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous for a pot-luck meal or alcohol-free New Year’s night.
o Go carolling or visit nursing homes. Take the holiday spirit to others; they do appreciate it.
o Have a vision ‘in your mind’s eye’ of events over the festive season. Let the vision be a positive – then watch it change if you were to drink or use drugs.
o Aim to be in a safe place over the festive season. The fellowships have dinners and dances which can protect people and let them discover that they can enjoy themselves without drink or drugs.
o Do have company.
o Whatever your budget, set a bit aside for a few presents for others. It is the thought that counts
o For many years we have neglected thinking of others then, wallowing in pity, reflected on how few cards etc we received. Be proactive this year: get your cards now, dust off your address book and send some of those cards. Let a few people know you are alive again!
o Make an effort with your surroundings… A christmas tree and decorations can lift the spirit no end. Make your home as well as your heart a welcoming place.
o Go to AA/NA meetings before you go to parties, and take another recovering person with you.
o Plan ahead for parties/dances. Have your sponsor’s phone number and some coins so you can call him/her if things get difficult. Have money for a taxi.
o Have an escape route. If you are giving a lift to other people, discuss the possibility of leaving them to get a taxi home if you feel uncomfortable with others’ drinking; your recovery comes first.
o Ensure your host knows that you do not drink alcohol so s/he can stock non-alcoholic options.
Rehearse and know exactly what to say should someone say “Go on, have a drink/joint”.