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.

With You
4 min readDec 23, 2019


Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels.

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

For many people, Christmas is a time of indulgence. This often means drinking far more than usual — from hitting the tequila at the work christmas party to the bucks fizz on christmas morning, healthier choices are banished to the new year.

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

Unfortunately, rather than being supportive, some people can be a bit flippant when they realise someone doesn’t drink. “Go on have one, it’s Christmas” is an all too common response to people choosing orange juice over beer.

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

A strong alcohol craving — that intense ‘I really need a drink feeling’ — tends to only last for 10–15 minutes. If you can ride this initial period out then you may be surprised by how easy you find saying no going forward. When you feel a craving coming on, try and distract yourself or let someone close to you know so they can help you through it.

3. Have an exit plan

However, if you’re going somewhere where you know alcohol will be flowing, do give yourself permission to walk away if it gets too much. Some people worry that this will come across as rude, but if you’re honest with the host they will normally be understanding. If you sometimes struggle to communicate how you‘re feeling, set up a special signal with your partner or a friend you trust, letting them know you’d…



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