Six tips to get through Christmas when you’re in recovery

Don’t give yourself a hard time — you don’t have to go it alone.

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels.

By Rachel Britton, Director of Pharmacy, and Gerry Flanagan, Recovery Worker

But for people in recovery, Christmas can be a minefield of temptation. If you’re worried about getting through the next few weeks, or know someone in this position, here are some simple tips to help you negotiate the festive period.

1. Be honest with people close to you

If you’re worried about being pushed towards temptation, try to take the time to explain to people close to you the reasons why you’re abstaining. Once people understand the journey you’ve been on they will often be far more accepting and respectful of your decision, meaning you’ll feel less pressure to drink.

2. Ride it out

3. Have an exit plan

Another clever tactic is to try to time your social situations to traditionally non-drinking hours. For example, if you are meeting up with family who enjoy a tipple, arrange to go for breakfast rather than doing something in the evening. That way you can keep temptation to a minimum.

4. Give people options

5. Don’t give yourself a hard time

It’s easier to recover from short blips if you’re honest about what happened. Keeping a drink diary and documenting what you’ve consumed helps keep things in perspective. It maybe you had two glasses of wine when in the past you would have drank three bottles. Shame is a big factor in problematic drinking, so understanding how far you’ve come and not blaming yourself can prevent a blip from becoming something bigger.

6. You don’t have to go through it alone

Alternatively, Addaction runs an online webchat service where you can talk anonymously to a trained advisor. Just visit

We are one of the UK’s leading mental health, drug and alcohol charities. We provide free, confidential support with drugs, alcohol and mental health.

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