Advice /7th Jan 19

Coping with Christmas as a Recovering Alcoholic

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Irish Independent December 11th 2018

The lights are twinkling, presents are wrapped, our cupboards stocked with all kinds of treats and the drink is in full flow. Alcohol takes centre stage at Christmas; the clinking of glasses as much a sound of the season as 'Fairytale Of New York'.

And with the season comes a whole host of situations for people in recovery to negotiate and navigate. Róisín Sheridan, now in her 70s, may be 37 years sober, but she vividly recalls the challenges of Christmas. In fact, it was shortly before Christmas in 1981 that she sought treatment for her addiction to alcohol at the Rutland Centre in Dublin.

Róisín's drinking started began when a friend used to call over on a Friday night and she'd bring a bottle of Martini. Róisín would end up drinking most of it. A new job abroad meant there was always drink in the fridge and she drank more than ever. A return home didn't stop her drinking. She didn't even like the taste of alcohol, but it was her way of self-medicating.

"With me it was the psychological damage - I wasn't able to recognise myself. I knew there was something very wrong but I didn't know what it was. I was slipping and sliding around AA for a few years. It got to the stage where I had a very strong physical dependence on drink. I'd be shaking with panic attacks. It was just awful."

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