Advice /17th Jun 16

Protect your Recovery during the Euro’s!

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From the hooliganism of some of the fans to the ‘friendly’ enthusiasm of the Irish fans, the stories are coming through thick and fast from France and the hype is rising with each match played. When the rest of the world or Europe at least is jumping on the band waggon it’s hard not to join in and why shouldn’t you? However, for people in recovery from addiction and their families, this kind of festive events can be heavily associated with alcohol, drugs and gambling and can fill those in recovery with anxiety and loneliness as a result.

So how do you get involved and enjoy the celebrations safely?

We’ve put together the following tips to try and help.

  1. Stay Away from the Pub - So maybe the pub is not the place for you to watch the football anymore – at least not for the moment - but the lure of the excitement in the pub during matches is hard to avoid. Maybe you could host a gathering of people yourself to watch the match and invite people who you know will be happy not to drink or gamble. You can still enjoy the excitement that a crowd brings but on your own terms.

  2. Give Yourself a Break – Allow yourself to enjoy the match and to be happy. Remember more than 150,000 Irish people are dependent drinkers and an estimated 28,000 - 40,000 of us are problem gamblers. You are not alone in your addiction and you are not alone in your recovery. You are choosing to take control and to do something about it and this is something to be proud of.

  3. Phone a friend and Have a Plan B - If you are going to a party where people will be drinking and gambling bring someone with you who is in recovery or who is “safe” and will support you. It also helps in any situation where you aren’t completely confident of how it will play out to have a Plan B. For example, you could drive yourself so you have a way to immediately leave the party if you feel the need. You could also set a timeframe before you arrive, state this clearly to the organiser and then stick to it -e.g.: "I can only stay until half-time or until the match is over".

  4. Keep in Touch – Get to a meeting or make contact with your support network who you trust – that might be your therapist or a friend or family member. You could also try and meet up with some fellow people in recovery to watch the match. They will understand where you are at and will be supportive.

  5. Time Stock and Take Time Out - Take some quiet time each day for relaxation and reflection or meditation. No matter how busy you are or what madness and hype is going on around you, this is worth doing even for a few minutes to give you some perspective on where you are at and how far you have come in your recovery. Do something you enjoy for yourself. Go for a walk, to the gym, read, listen to music or meet a trusted friend for a coffee for example.

  6. Go for a Surf! – Not literally. If you feel an urge, it should usually last about 20-30 minutes. Instead of doing battle with it – e.g. ‘I can’t stand this urge, I have to get rid of it!’, take some time out to think about it. As you think about it, see if you can notice all the sensations that come up as you think about it. Use your breath to help you think through all these sensations and ‘ride out the waves’ (ie the urges), like a surfboard!

Rutland Centre’s helpline is open 24 hours – 01 494 6358

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