How to navigate the Holiday season in recovery


For many individuals, years end brings with it images and memories of family, food, and happiness. For others, especially those dealing with addiction or alcoholism, the holidays can be a less enjoyable time. Bringing with it family conflict, financial strain, loneliness, grief, and shame.

If you are struggling with addiction and or alcoholism and find the holidays to be an unusually difficult time, you are certainly not alone. In fact– during the holiday season, the CDC reports that alcohol-and-drug-induced deaths spike.

The Deadliest Time of The Year

While the above title is certainly jarring and grim, it is certainly accurate. According to the CDC, the most dangerous times of the year for drug-and-alcohol-related deaths are December and January. Nearly 91,000 deaths have been reported for the month of December alone since 1999. Alcohol and Drug-induced deaths are preventable. For many individuals struggling with substance use disorder or newly in recovery from it, a holiday season recovery plan makes sense. This is something best constructed with an addiction counselor or therapist. This article is meant to simply be a starting point.

Staying Sober During the Holidays

Data indicates that the holiday season is an especially dangerous time of year for those afflicted with alcoholism or addiction. For an individual in early recovery or for family members and loved ones supporting someone in recovery, it is important to understand how individuals with substance use disorder have successfully navigated the holidays in the past.

Research shows that exercise and maintaining a healthy well-balanced diet were helpful for those in recovery from addiction and or alcoholism during the holiday season. Utilizing recovery resources and seeking additional resources may also be necessary. Here at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center we typically experience a spike in treatment inquiries starting around thanksgiving and lasting into early January. 

Making sleep, spending time with family and friends, budgeting, self-help meetings, and mindfulness activities are also helpful in maintaining sobriety during the holidays.

Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

For a safe and happy holiday, it’s important to be aware of the dangers, triggers, and strategies needed to keep anxiety, depression, stress, and drug or alcohol cravings under control. If it all gets to be too much, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

Here at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center, we offer various levels of care to treat alcoholism, alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, addiction, and other co-occurring conditions. For more information on our services please call us directly at 732-847-4555. We are available 24/7 to help. All calls are not obligated and are strictly confidential.