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A sober Christmas – committing to positive change in your life

For all the expectation and excitement, Christmas can be really stressful. 

Christmas can push us all towards habits we want to stop, or wish we didn’t rely on to manage difficult situations. 

It’s important to recognise causes of stress and pressure and do something about it rather than letting it get the better of us. 

Practical ideas to reduce stress this Christmas

  • Take time out for yourself. Even 5 minutes of finding a quiet place, breathing deep and focusing on the things you’re thankful for can help. 
  • Check in with your mind. How are you feeling? 
  • Avoid situations filled with temptation. Ask a friend if they want to meet for a walk or a coffee rather than a drink at a bar. 
  • Plan your days and events. If you know there’s going to be a friend at a party who will tempt you to drink or take drugs, make yourself the designated driver. Plan ahead to remove temptation. 
  • Ask a friend or family member to be a non-judgemental accountability partner. Have someone you can message or call, who will check in on you and see how you are doing. Someone you can talk honestly to when you need to rant or share worries. 
  • Get fresh air and exercise. Walk around your neighbourhood to relax, get moving and get you out of a potentially stressful environment. 
  • Remove yourself from unhelpful conversations. You don’t have to listen to family or friends telling you that you’re changing, or different, or can’t do something. You can walk away. Get yourself out of situations that make you feel bad. 

What should I do if I haven’t got a supportive family at Christmas?


If you haven’t got the support you need at home, or you can’t offer the support to someone that they need, then there are lots of different sources of help to reach out to. 

Mental health concerns: 

If you feel extremely anxious, you’re having panic attacks, flashbacks, feeling suicidal or paranoid then reach out to a mental health support service like Mind. Mind have really helpful information on free mental health services available to everyone

Urgent help – if you, or someone you care about, needs urgent help now, you can:

  • Call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment
  • Call NHS 111
  • Contact your mental health crisis team (if you have one)
  • Call Samaritans free on 116 123

Do you have someone in your life who is about to have their first sober Christmas?

Practical ideas and sober Christmas gift suggestions: 

  • Don’t put pressure on someone to buy expensive gifts that could add stress to reciprocate. 
  • Etsy has a huge range of gifts for encouraging someone in their sobriety. From ‘I’m proud of you’ mugs to sobriety jewellery, funny socks and beautiful artwork. 
  • Choose a craft set, game or activity that you can do together. Something that gets you both involved in a new hobby, skill or headspace to make new memories together. 

Are you celebrating your first sober Christmas? 

Your first sober Christmas is a big deal and definitely a cause for celebration! 

Celebrations can be difficult and a cause of temptation for lots of recovering addicts, so here are some ideas of things you can do by yourself, with friends or family to mark the occasion. 

Ways to celebrate… 

  • Go out for breakfast. A meal where there is no pressure to drink alcohol.
  • Walk somewhere beautiful and take a moment to think of all the things you are grateful for.
  • Cook a favourite meal for anyone who has supported you in your sobriety.
  • Give yourself a break: pamper yourself and remind yourself how brilliant you are.
  • Take photos of your sober Christmas and print them out. Display them wherever you will see them regularly and remember this day. 

Are you looking for an alcohol or drug treatment centre? 

You might have read this blog and thought, ‘good for other people who can celebrate Christmas sober – but that’s not me.’ Perhaps the reality of a sober Christmas feels out of reach for you?

If you know that you want to change then we can support you. 

Change is not an easy decision to make – and we’re not promising it will be easy. But, our 12 step recovery programme works. We can help you on the journey to recovery. 

Get in touch with us. We’re ready to listen and help you.

Are you concerned about someone else this Christmas? 

If you want advice on how you can help someone you are worried about, have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions –  it’s a good place to start looking for the answers to some of your questions and concerns. 

Are you worried about someone who needs urgent help with addiction? 

If you are concerned about someone you know who may be showing signs of addiction or may be in need of urgent help, please get in touch. It’s not your responsibility to resolve someone else’s addictions. You don’t have to support someone alone. 

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I need help now

If you or someone you care about needs urgent help now, you can:
Call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment
Call NHS 111
Contact your mental health crisis team (if you have one)
Call Samaritans free on 116 123 or email
If you are in a life threatening situation right now please call 999