Preparing for the Holidays in Recovery

According to a study published in The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, “Holidays are particularly perilous times for those in treatment for alcohol problems—for obvious reasons. These times mix the internal and external triggers of stress and celebration into a literally intoxicating cocktail.†Often, individuals may feel overwhelmed and unprepared for the festivities and need to prove themselves to family and friends. The season can be a significant challenge, so remain mindful of how the holiday season affects you and seek support if necessary.

First and foremost, remember that there is no one right way to celebrate. Plenty of traditions can be enjoyed, regardless of whether or not you are currently battling substance abuse recovery. Continue reading for tips to help make this season more manageable.

Create an Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is a plan to leave a situation before it becomes too overwhelming or stressful. If you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling triggered or uncomfortable, consider creating an emergency plan B—having a set plan in place will allow you to remove yourself from the situation if necessary. Backup strategies are safety precautions that can help you avoid potentially harmful situations and maintain your sobriety during the holiday season.

It should be a priority to remember that you are in control of your recovery and deserve to make choices that will support your sobriety.

Invite a Plus One for Moral Support

Many recovering addicts find attending family gatherings and holiday celebrations difficult because the presence of alcohol or drugs may trigger many people. It is essential to remember that you are not alone during these events. A “plus one†can be a friend or loved one who will be there to support you. Whether you are inviting a friend for moral support or seeking group support, plenty of resources are available to help you feel comfortable and supported. Having a support system during the holidays can significantly boost your recovery.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care means taking care of yourself mentally and physically, which is an essential part of any recovery plan. When dealing with substance abuse, prioritize your well-being by enjoying your hobbies, getting enough sleep, staying active, or even indulging in healthy holiday treats. You must be mindful of how your body responds to the stress of the holiday season. Don’t hesitate to take time if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Shift Your Outlook on Holiday Fun

Make an effort to change the narrative and remember that there are many positive aspects to celebrating during the holidays. Shifting your outlook on holiday fun can be challenging, but it is essential to allow yourself to have fun in a sober way.


At Welwynn, we provide discreet care to high-level professionals and their families. The fight against addiction and substance abuse doesn’t get any easier during the holiday season, and we are here to assist every step of the way. Get in touch with us today to get the help you and your loved ones deserve.

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