My Top Tips for Staying Sober at Christmas.

Are you all set for Christmas? That’s a question we are often asked in the lead up to the festive season. Me, I’m a last kinda girl, rushing around getting presents, I just love the hustle and bustle of it all. I have a few little rituals I like to do every Christmas; decorations go up early in December (some might say too early!), shopping lists are completed, Christmas cakes are baked, and I always go to town for a few hours Christmas Eve to soak up the atmosphere. These are the things I like to do every year, it’s a habit at this stage.

But what if you are in recovery and the old habits at Christmas no longer support you and your recovery. How can you take care of yourself over Christmas?

It’s natural for family members to be worried about a loved one’s sobriety at Christmas but recovery is in the hands of their loved one. Discussions around relapse prevention should happen well before the holiday period and everyone should be comfortable with what’s decided.

So, if you are in recovery how can you take care of yourself over the holiday period? Here come my top tips

Have a Plan

Have an idea of what you are going to do each day. Spend it with people who support your recovery, you will find out very early on who you can rely on.

Preparation is Crucial

If you are travelling, plan in advance. Bring recovery reading material with you. If you go to fellowship meetings find out if there are meetings where you are going. Bring support contact numbers with you.

Know your Triggers

Stay away from people, places and things that would have triggered alcohol or drug use. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way.

Have a Party Plan.

If you are attending parties have an escape plan. Not everyone may take your recovery seriously and may pressure you to drink/use. They may not realise it’s a life or death situation for you. If you begin to feel uncomfortable know that you have choices and it’s ok to leave. Leave early as alcohol and drug use usually becomes more widespread as the party goes on.

Attend Meetings

If you attend fellowship meetings find out where and when every meeting is on in your locality over the holiday period. That way you know in advance just in case you are finding things difficult.

Have a Support Contact List

Create a list of people you can call if you need to talk. It can be a sponsor, family and friends. Anyone who supports you and your recovery. Mention to them that you might phone them for a chat.


Join a walking group. If you play sport find out when training sessions are. Get an exercise buddy to keep you motivated.


Create new habits and traditions to replace the ones you had when in addiction. Be creative, invent games, keep a recovery diary, go to the movies, and join clubs and groups. Don’t forget to have fun!

Live in the Here and Now.

This can be a difficult one especially if you’re with family or friends who like to reminisce. Stay in the now as much as you can and live one day at a time. This is a big one, celebrate your recovery and the hard work that you have put into being sober. Give yourself a big pat on the back for getting there.

The Dreaded Relapse.

If you do have a slip know that all is not lost. Relapse is part of recovery so look at it as an opportunity to learn. The key is to take it seriously and know that you have choices. You are the one who is in control of your recovery so take action straight away.

So I hope these few tips help you over the Christmas period and wish you a very peaceful holiday time.

Warmest Wishes

Eileen Foley

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