Navigating the Holidays in Recovery


The holiday season is often associated with happiness and togetherness. However, for individuals on a journey of recovery from substance use disorder, this time of year can present some challenges. Navigating parties, gatherings, and holiday events can be difficult, especially in early recovery, but it’s entirely possible to maintain your commitment to sobriety and still enjoy the holiday season. Below we will include some tips and strategies to make it through the holiday season with your sobriety intact.


  • The holiday season can be both joyous and overwhelming with many social and holiday get-togethers. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care to ensure your sobriety remains the top priority. Establish a routine that includes proper sleep, exercise, treatment and or self-help meeting attendance, and even downtime for yourself. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is the baseline requirement for maintaining your sobriety.

Plan Ahead:

  • As the old saying goes “A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.” This saying certainly applies to recovery. Planning when it comes to social events can be extremely beneficial. Communicate with your loved ones about your commitment to sobriety so they can be supportive. Also, plan your attendance at events strategically – choose activities that are alcohol and substance-free or have a supportive environment if alcohol will be present as it is typically harder to avoid alcohol. Having an exit strategy in mind can also help you remove yourself from situations quickly if you find yourself being triggered.

Bring Non-Alcoholic Beverages:

  • When attending holiday gatherings, consider bringing your non-alcoholic beverages. If possible make it something festive or something you enjoy. Doing this accomplishes two things, it ensures you always have a drink in hand and are less likely to be offered one, and it reduces the likelihood of your craving an alcoholic drink. There are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic options available including sparkling water, mocktails, coffees, and teas.


Your Support System:

  • The holiday season is a great time to utilize your support system even more than you normally do. Whether it’s friends, family, or others in recovery having a reliable network can make a big impact. Discussing your thoughts, emotions, and concerns with someone you trust can go a long way.


  • Practicing gratitude is beneficial in many aspects of life including recovery. Take time each day to reflect on the positive aspects of your life and the progress you’ve made on your journey. Celebrate the small wins like staying sober through a holiday party or similar potentially tricky social situations. Cultivating gratitude can help shift your mindset away from cravings and temptations, reinforcing your commitment to staying sober.


Here at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center, we offer various levels of care to treat addiction, substance use disorder, alcoholism, and co-occurring conditions such as depression and anxiety. For more information about our services please call us directly at 732-847-4555. We are available 24/7 to help. All calls are no obligation and are strictly confidential.