Bank holiday weekends for recovering alcoholics can be a problem. Being surrounded by an environment that advocates beginning the weekend ‘celebrations’ from clock off time on the Friday continuing for most pretty much all weekend. It’s hard, being bombarded by advertising, references on social media sites, supermarkets – the list goes on.
I remember my first ‘celebration season’ after coming out of rehab. It was Christmas – couldn’t have picked a bigger one! I approached it with anxious trepidation, wondering how on earth I would get through the season sober. In order to get through this I needed a plan of action, so as I had been advised in therapy I put into place a Helping Hand Contract which I gave to my most trusted family member and friends. On it I wrote a list of warning signs that could indicate I might be heading towards disaster. It included the steps I wanted them to take if I was dismissive of their concerns. This contract was signed by them and me.
An important tool for me was my support network, friends that I have made in rehab. We have a chat group and use it to express feelings and worries that could have us tumbling down the relapse road. I am extremely lucky and privileged to have these wonderful people in my life.
Further to this I also had, and still do, a code word that I say to my husband if I ever feel compromised or uncomfortable in a situation and need to remove myself from it immediately.
Be aware of potential triggers, some which may be individual to you AND stay alert for that sniper sitting and waiting patiently to strike. If needed avoid people and places that you once associated with drinking, and the social pressure of drinking.
I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful weekend and think of the benefits of three days of uninterrupted sleep. You will be starting next week feeling refreshed, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Fully dignified with no memory loss, blackouts, wondering who you upset and what you said, feelings a paranoia, guilt, shame, remorse, embarrassment, injuries, nausea, diarrhoea. All of these I am guilty of! Oh the joys (not)! It was bloody exhausting.