Staying on the straight and narrow: How to stay sober during the party season

How many Christmas parties do you have planned this year? Two or three? Maybe more?

Staying sober can be especially hard during the Christmas season. With family gatherings, Christmas parties, post-work socials and New Year’s Eve it can be a particularly difficult time  for someone who is in early recovery.

It can be very hard to get used to the idea of a sober Christmas, especially when other people around you seem to be having a great time celebrating with alcohol or drugs. But it can be achieved.

If you find yourself struggling to stay on track during the holiday season, please remember that you are not alone.

Peter Smith, Service Line Director at Priory Group, highlights ten ways to help you make the most of the Christmas season while staying on the straight and narrow…

  • Prepare activities to do each day of the Christmas season - plan to spend the majority of your time with friends and family who are supportive of your recovery.
  • Find a meeting in your area - many groups have special meetings during Christmas to share their experience, strength and hope. Check the local papers or online for a meeting in your area.
  • Speak to family and friends - those who are truly supportive of your recovery will be happy to help you stay on track throughout the Christmas season.
  • Have a list of five people you can call - make a list and check it twice. Enter the list of five people you trust into your phone, or write it down and carry it with you at all times.
  • Exercise - regular exercise is essential to achieving full recovery. Going for a run, a walk or playing a team sport will help to focus your energy on something positive.
  • Stay away from temptation - make sure that your cupboards do not contain any tempting alcohol or drugs which could affect your recovery, and if you are heading out during the Christmas season stay away from any pubs or clubs where you may feel uncomfortable.
  • When it comes to social events chose carefully - it’s tempting to say yes to every invitation you get from friends and family, but be mindful that some events may prove particularly challenging. If you’re nervous about attending a particular event, speak to the host about your concerns beforehand.
  • Watch out for hidden alcohol - certain cakes, including Christmas pudding, often contain alcohol and could really affect your progress, so be careful when choosing what cakes to eat.
  • Have an alternative - if you must attend an event where alcohol is served, have a plan ready the moment you start to feel uncomfortable.
  • Take it one day at a time and celebrate your achievements - don’t forget how far you’ve come. Celebrate this with family and friends by doing something you enjoy.

Here are some key numbers to keep close to you...

Narcotics Anonymous 0300 999 1212
Alcoholics Anonymous 0845 7697 555
Cocaine Anonymous 0800 612 0225
Families Anonymous 0845 1200 660
Samaritans 08457 909090
Talk to Frank 0300 123 6600
NHS 111

If you or somebody you know would like to talk to us about how we can help to support addiction recovery, please contact us on: 0845 277 4679 or click here.