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Maintaining Your Recovery During the Holidays

The holiday season can be challenging for anyone. For those in recovery, the holiday’s can be especially daunting. Family gatherings or special holiday functions can trigger feelings of loneliness, stress or depression. Rationalization, or addictive thought patterns, may arise. You may find yourself justifying having “just one” to keep the festivities festive.


It is crucial during these times to acknowledge the difficulties that may arise during the holidays. Maintaining sobriety and mental health requires planning, preparation, and coping skills all year round, not just the holidays. I think we can all agree that some additional coping skills during this time of the year are a welcome addition to recovery.

A sober holiday is not a somber holiday. You can enjoy a newfound sense of freedom during the holidays with a few additional safeguards in place.

  • Be Selective: Choose wisely which invitations you accept.
  • Set Boundaries: Put yourself and your recovery above all else.
  • Don’t Go Alone: Bring a sober friend or recruit a sober family member to help you resist temptation or help you cope with stressful situations.
  • Plan: Be prepared for temptations as well as friends or family members who aren’t very understanding of you and your process.
  • Practice Self Care: Get the sleep you need, continue your healthy eating habits and exercise regime. Call your sponsor or therapist and check in regularly with them and with yourself! Create downtime for just you so you can read or meditate or just relax.

Most of all, take it one day at a time. Maintaining your physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health is a lifestyle and takes dedication and perseverance. And you are well worth the effort.