Celebrations and abstinence: How to survive the minefield

Christmas festivities, whilst fun for many, can leave the person in recovery from addiction feeling quite lonely and isolated. Few events cater for the sober person.

Dr Andrew Parker,  addiction services lead consultant at Nightingale Hospital shares these tips for those ‘surviving the minefield’.

For those in addiction recovery or battling for abstinence:

  • Plan ahead and decide how you want your Christmas and New Year to be.
  • Don’t follow the crowd or feel pressured to attend things that won’t give you peace or which may endanger your sobriety.
  • Arrange one or two things with the people you most want to be with over the Christmas period.
  • If family dynamics are difficult, manage those occasions wisely and in short bursts. Quality over quantity.
  • Focus on simple sharing, true friendship, rather than too much indulgence.
  • Christmas and New Year can be a time of spiritual renewal or a new beginning, so cultivate the serenity to make it so for you.
  • If you are really on your own, think about helping out for a few hours at a homeless shelter. In giving, we receive, and unexpected joy may appear.
  • Don’t be afraid of some solitude. Trust it, and steer clear of any tendency to self-pity or regret.
  • Your sobriety may be very valuable to others who prefer someone focused and clear-headed to converse with. Value your new clarity.
  • Look out for all the little opportunities to share a generous spirit.
  • Cultivate serenity in all things, and joy will breakthrough.


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  • Dr Andrew Parker

    Dr Andrew Parker

    Nightingale Hospital Lead Consultant for Addiction Services

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“When you have a problem and you drink, take drugs or gamble, the problem won’t go away. Stay and tackle the problem”