Hints and tips to help get through this Christmas!

Christmas can be a very scary time of the year. This may be your first Christmas in a long time without the involvement of drugs or alcohol. You may have reduced your drug or alcohol use and wish to maintain it.

It doesn’t have to be a nightmare and many others are your position. It really is just another day. Whether you want to celebrate or not, try some of these tips that have been written by our staff, service users and volunteers:

  • Make plans for the Christmas period. Especially plan and know what you are doing on Christmas eve, Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s Eve.
  • Try not to spend it alone. Try and hook up with some people who understand your outlook on drugs and alcohol and want to help you stay well.
  •  Reach out to family and friends and be honest about your feelings concerning Christmas and the New Year.
  • Try and avoid people who are likely to encourage you to use drugs or drink.
  •  If you do end up on your own over Christmas and someone that you would rather avoid turns up at your door, it’s ok to make an excuse. You can say your family are just about to pop over or that you have family in the house already. If you have to you can grab your coat and leave the house saying that you’re on your way out. You can even blank the door completely! Remember, this is about keeping you safe – Play it how you feel comfortable.
  • If you’re determined that you are going to spend some of Christmas by yourself, then plan what you will be doing. Have a routine. Get up at a decent time, eat regularly, take plenty of fluids. Have your own special meal on Christmas day. Be kind to yourself.
  • If you’re bored and sick of TV and mince pies, phone someone, go for a walk in the countryside or a local park, do some exercise, meditate, read a book etc. Basically switch things up!
  • If you get invited to a party and feel a bit nervous take a supportive friend with you. Suss the party and the people out before you go.
  • Turn down invites to high risk parties. You are not being anti-social, but rather making a healthy choice around your own welfare.
  • Come up with a standard response as to why you are not drinking or using. This may vary depending on the type of party and if you want those in attendance: “I don’t drink/use anymore”, “I am not drinking tonight”, “I am on medication and cannot have alcohol”, “I am the designated driver tonight,” etc.
  • If a party is going to be one of those all night and day affairs miles away from home in some disused building or field, consider the possibilities that it may trigger off feelings of wanting to drink or use something. Don’t be surprised if you get offered drugs there.
  • If you are going to a party, have an Escape Route – Maybe you’re going to a party where drinking and drug taking is involved, but you want to have the ability to leave quickly if you get nervous. Have an excuse ready for this. Don’t feel bad about bailing out with a phony excuse.
  • Keep in regular contact with others over the Christmas period. Call a supportive mate or family member at least once a day.
  • If your goal is to abstain from drinking and or using drugs, then attend an NA or AA meeting. Even if you don’t want to!
  • Laughing is good medicine. Go buy or rent a few good comedies. When you are feeling blue take out one of these movies and watch it. Laughter can bring about happiness that can last for hours.
  • Be honest with loved ones if you are having a hard time and let them know how to support you.
  • Don’t give up. If you have a moment of sadness then let it pass and go on. Just because you feel bad for a few minutes  doesn’t mean you give up the rest of the day to your low mood.
  • Do not isolate. Some of us are estranged from family and risk being lonely over the holidays instead of over-committed. In this situation, accept invitations and stay engaged with the world around you. Again, talk to your recovery facilitator or other supporters and make plans well ahead of time.
  • If you feel like you are going to use drugs or drink, reach out for help. Call anyone you can. Take advantage of the services that are available to you (listed below). Remember cravings and urges will pass, but it’s important to divert your attention/distract yourself. Be positive, give yourself a talking to and tell yourself just how well you are doing.
  • If you are abstinent and you lapse or relapse, don’t panic, all is not lost. Reach out for help ASAP.

FOR HELP:

SMART chat is available online through our website daily from 6pm -11pm. Speak to us about your problems and concerns.

If you are feeling low SANEline is open  4.30pm – 10.30pm daily. 300 304 7000.

If you are feeling despairing and need to talk call Samaritans – 24hrs a day, all year round.  Tel: 116 123

Alcoholics Annonymous is a Fellowship of men and women sharing their experience and helping others to recover from alcoholism. Call them if you need support. 0800 9177 650.

Narcotics Anonymous ia a Fellowship of men and women for whom drugs have become a major problem. Recovering addicts meet regularly to help each other stay clean. Call them is you need support. 0300 999 1212.

SMART Recovery is a secular, science based self-help meetings to help people recover from addictive behavior.

Drinkline is a National alcohol helpline providing a free and confidential service. 0300 123 1110.

Drinkaware provides information on safer drinking, advice and tips to cut down and an online unit and calorie calculator.

Additional resources can be found on our website.

If you are a friend or family member of someone who has alcohol or drug problems and you feel that you need support, then please see our resources or contact us via SMART chat (via the website 6pm – 11pm daily).