Taken from – The Metro 02/12/2016
Christmas can be a difficult time for recovering alcoholics but there are ways to make things easier.
After 15 years living with active addictions, I was introduced to a new way of life in 2007.
I entered a rehabilitation centre in South Africa where I began the first stages of my recovery process.
Today, I maintain my sobriety through attending 12-step self-help groups and by helping other people to overcome their addictions.
I now live a very fulfilling life, free from the shackles of addiction.
As someone who is recovering from addiction, I feel a degree of anxiety building within me as Christmas draws ever closer.
That’s not because I’m worried about drinking.
On the contrary, I have a solid recovery and have no intention of picking up a drink.
It’s the thought of being around lots of drunk people in crowded places that brings me out in a hot sweat.
I have to remain vigilant at all times and must remember that I have an incurable illness that doesn’t like me sober.
But there are things that can help.
Get to as many self-help meetings as possible.
It’s really important that you stay connected with like-minded people and can share your experiences and learn from theirs.
If you find yourself away from home visiting families then you can always access online meetings through the internet.
They say an addict on their own is in a dangerous place, and I tend to agree.
If you don’t have anywhere to go this Christmas then reach out to other recovering addicts.
Those lovely folk will surely set you a place at their table.
If it is essential that you attend the dreaded Christmas party, that will no doubt be fueled by alcohol and ego, then make sure you have a planned exit strategy to leave as gracefully as you entered.
- Have a time to leave, and stick to it. Don’t be cajoled into staying longer than necessary.
- Have a reason for leaving eg meeting your sponsor or someone else in recovery.
- Pick up the phone – don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend in recovery if the going gets tough.
- Or failing everything else, and you are early in recovery, then don’t go at all. Your life is more important than spending eight hours watching people get drunk.
If you are a recovering addict of my variety, you will need to remain vigilant at all times – especially over Christmas.
Remember that addiction is an incurable illness that doesn’t like people being sober, it would rather we were partaking in a little too much festive cheer and making a complete fool out of ourselves.
Stay safe out there and remember to stay connected.
Jonathan Edgeley is an addiction consultant at Sober Services.
Read more: The Metro 02/12/2016