Acknowledging the Difficulties of Holidays and Recovery From Addictions

Difficulties of Holidays and Recovery From Addictions

The holidays can be a very happy time for some, but for others it may not be the best when overcoming a substance abuse issue/addiction. Here at RAD Living Recovery Residences, we hope all recovery addicts can have peace of mind while enjoying the holiday festivities. Within this article, we want to provide you with information, tips, and resources to help stay sober and happy throughout the holiday season. These tips can also be used in regular day life as well!  

Why Are Holidays Difficult for Some People?

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. One reason for this may be that people often want to feel like they belong and are connected during the holiday season. This desire can be strong and may lead to issues of overextending ourselves, which later lead to emotional, physical, and even financial problems. Some examples of this are:


  • Buying gifts for others that you may not be able to afford
  • Traveling to family and friends, which can cause financial strain
  • Feeling like you “have to” attend social/family functions even if you don’t want to
  • Feeling like everything has to be perfect, such as preparing the “perfect meal” or buying the “perfect gifts”


Another reason for difficulty during the holidays may be that you don’t have family or friends to visit, or because of COVID-19, you can’t spend the holidays with certain individuals. The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time, so when you can’t celebrate the way in which you wish it can be a huge struggle (rightfully so).

Is It Tough to Be in Recovery From Addiction During the Holidays?

Because of the stress in which the holiday season/festivities may cause, it can be a struggle when recovering from an addiction. The holidays can lead to failure when it comes to high expectations, overcommitment, fatigue, heightened emotions, and even mood swings. There could be more urges or opportunities for substance abuse during the holidays. There is a high-risk for relapse during the holidays, but the greatest gift that you could ever give anyone, including those you love and yourself is your sobriety. 

Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

Staying sober during the holidays is crucial for recovering addicts. Below we have provided some tips for maintaining sobriety during the holidays:

  • Create a plan – It can help to make a commitment plan for abstinence and practice what you are planning to do in drinking situations/when urges arise. 
  • Make lifestyle changes – This could mean giving up some traditions like attending a friends holiday party which always includes alcohol and drinking games. 
  • Cope with urges – Figure out what triggers you and familiarize yourself with ways to cope with these triggers/urges. 
  • Surround yourself with sober individuals – if you are in AA or another 12-step support group, make sure to call your sponsor whenever you feel like you want to drink or are feeling triggered. 
  • Ask for drink alternatives at parties – or bring your own beverage!
  • Create an exit strategy in case you become uncomfortable – there is nothing wrong with leaving a party or family gathering early. Don’t be afraid to leave if you aren’t feeling festive anymore or if you are triggered by the situation. 

How Rad Living Residences Can Help You or a Loved One

We know the holidays can be stressful and recovery isn’t always an easy process. Here at RAD Living Recovery Residences, we provide a safe living option for men in recovery. Reach out to us today to learn more about our recovery residences and how you can maintain your sobriety even through the toughest of times.