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Holidays Are Hard

Family gathering for holidays

Table of Contents

Holidays Can Be Difficult Times For Those In Recovery

For those walking the road of recovery, the holidays can be a particularly stressful and worrisome time. Many addicts must structure their lives around remaining healthy and sober, and due to stressors outside these daily routines, holidays can be a minefield for relapse. 

Travel, financial pressures, dealing with work, family, and friendship parties where alcohol is being served and other drugs may be around, stressors with family and friends… all can add up to an especially difficult time for someone who has abused drugs in the past and no longer wants to. 

But this doesn’t mean things are hopeless. Many of the techniques of sobriety can be kept up around the holidays, even if one’s daily routine has been altered. Below, we’ve listed some of the potential stressors around the holidays, as well as some helpful ways to deal with these stressors.

And remember, if you need help, the Destination Hope Treatment Center is here for you. We offer many different forms of care for your drug or alcohol addiction, including aftercare, access to meetings and check-ins and much more. Have a look around our website for some of our services, and read on for some tips for how to remain sober during the holidays. 

Why Are The Holidays Difficult For People with an Addiction

Holidays can be difficult for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and are in recovery mainly due to a break in routine. Sobriety is often built on routines, such as exercising, going to sobriety meetings, and meeting with sober friends and allies. When the holidays come, these routines can be muddled. But there are ways to deal with this and keep these routines, even if you are away from home. 

Some stressors around the holidays include: 

  • Travel. Travel is almost always stressful, but around the holidays it can be particularly so due to inclement weather and the number of people traveling. 
  • Financial Pressures. Often, the holidays can cost a lot of money. Travel, presents, gatherings, all can cause financial pressure on those in recovery.
  • Spending time around family. The holidays can be stressful because we are around people with whom we have complicated relationships. 
  • Holiday Parties. Holiday parties can be stressful because they often present opportunities to drink and do drugs the addict wouldn’t normally be exposed to. 
  • Seeing Old Friends And Acquaintances. The holidays are a time when those in recovery might happen to run into people they used to drink or use drugs with, and this can present a trigger. 
  • Loneliness. The holidays can also be lonely times, which can be a trigger for some people. In addition, in many areas of the world the holidays are times when the weather isn’t particularly nice and it’s more difficult to get outside, get exercise, and get sunlight. 

These can all add up to a temptation to drink or use drugs again. But there are some ways you can mitigate these risks. 

How To Deal With Addiction Around The Holidays

One of the best ways to deal with stressors around the holidays is to force routine into a situation where it normally wouldn’t be. You can still attend meetings, although in a different fashion, you can still exercise, although potentially in a different fashion, and you can even develop new habits and routines that you might be able to use each year.

Some of these sobriety techniques include: 

  • Exercise. Exercise is one of the best natural mood lifters available, and can be done almost anywhere. Away from your gym? Many gyms around the country offer daily or weekly passes. Leave your treadmill at home? Go for a walk or run outside. Don’t have access to your weight bench? Bodyweight exercises can fill in for a short time. 
  • Sobriety Meetings. Don’t stop going to sobriety meetings like AA and NA around the holidays. Even if you’re out of your home area, you’re always welcome to open meetings around the world. In the unlikely event there isn’t one in the area you’re traveling, there are always online meetings you can join. 
  • Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to meet people, stave off loneliness, and feel good about yourself. Many places need extra help around the holidays, and these events can act as great excuses for why you can’t go to that party where you know people will be drinking and using drugs. Who knows, you might even start a new tradition, find a new hobby, or fall in love. 
  • Talk To Others. It’s also helpful to talk about what you are going through with others. It can be uncomfortable to explain why you no longer drink or use drugs— and people might not want to hear it— but helping those around you understand why this time is hard is a good bulwark against relapse. In addition, because you may be around people you’re usually not, your sobriety may help others on their journey to sobriety as well. 

Help Is Available For Addiction And Mental Health Disorders At Destination Hope

At Destination Hope Treatment Center, we want to see everyone happy, healthy and sober, and we want to help those on their journey to sobriety stay sober any time of the year, including during the holidays. But if you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, give us a call at (888) 989-1479 and we can help put you or those you love on the road to a happy and healthy life free from drugs and alcohol. 

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