Navigating the Holidays While Recovering from Addiction

Lonely man sitting in the sand

The Complex Emotions of November and December Holidays

The November and December holidays…

For some, it is a season of great joy and time with family and friends, a chance to slow down and enjoy the moment.

For others – it’s a time of stress, anxiety, loneliness, and great sadness. If you are someone recovering from an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol – the intersection of these emotions and time with family can create complex challenges that are unique to this time of year.

Family Relationships and Recovery

Those working to recover from addiction to drugs and/or alcohol often struggle in their relationships with family. And the holidays are often a time of close contact with family members. Many researchers believe that family dysfunction and the loneliness and stress it causes are among the root causes of addiction.

Holiday Survival Tips for Those in Recovery

  • Be kind to yourself. Accept that the holidays may present challenges – and avoid castigating yourself for not “feeling the joy.”
  • Often, we are reminded of people who are no longer in our lives during the holidays. Accept emotions like sadness and find ways to discuss them with people who support you.
  • Keep stressors at a distance.
  • Get plenty of rest, eat wholesome foods, and exercise. Taking care of yourself is far more important than many realize.
  • If you know you will face difficult moments, have a plan for yourself and, if possible, talk to your therapist or support group members for guidance.
  • Know your triggers. Know what events or circumstances create an urge to relapse.
  • When attending social functions – take a sober buddy who will support and sometimes distract you. And avoid the bar area if you can.

HALT: Recognizing Vulnerabilities in Recovery

Yes – the holidays can make for some tough days. Accept that fact and take care of yourself, remembering this acronym: HALT– hungry, angry, lonely, tired. These four feelings are the great weakeners of resolve.

Get Help Where You Are

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol and need help in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. And we come to you, regardless of where you live. Our unique in-home treatment model of care gives clients a significantly better chance of recovery than traditional inpatient rehab care. Please get in touch with one of our Recovery Specialists to learn more.