How to Celebrate the Holidays With Those in Recovery

How to Celebrate the Holidays With Those in Recovery


Some words that are most often associated with the holiday season are joy, togetherness, and celebration. However, for individuals in recovery from substance use, these may not be the first words that come to mind. The holiday season can bring unique challenges for those in recovery. Support and understanding are required while navigating social gatherings, managing stress, and resisting triggers during the holidays. In this blog post, we will explore how to celebrate the joyful times with loved ones going through recovery.


Open Communication

  • An open and honest conversation with your loved one about their needs as well as their concerns during the holiday season is a great way to start. Fostering an environment of understanding of their boundaries, triggers, and any other specific challenges they may face can help set up the foundation for a supportive system.


Plan Sober-Friendly Activities

  • Instead of celebrating with alcohol-centric events, shift the focus to activities that don’t revolve around substances. Some fun activities could include cooking together, playing board games, watching movies, or attending alcohol-free holiday events such as a Christmas parade.


Attend Sober Events

  • Exploring local events or support groups designed for individuals in recovery during the holidays can provide a strong sense of community. This also reinforces the idea that celebration of the holidays doesn’t require any substances.


Create a Safe Space

  • Whatever environment you’re in, make sure that it is safe and supportive of sobriety for individuals going through recovery. If you’re going to host a gathering, be communicative with the guests about the importance of maintaining a substance-free environment. To support the choice of sobriety, be sure to have a variety of non-alcoholic beverage options available.


Focus on Gratitude

  • The holiday season is a great time for you and your loved ones to reflect and share what you’re thankful for. Encourage gratitude by incorporating it into holiday traditions. The shift in focus on what you’re grateful for reinforces positive emotions and creates a sense of appreciation even in the midst of challenges.


Be Mindful

  • The holidays can be a major stressor for anyone. Stress is especially hard on those going through recovery as it can be a significant trigger. Incorporate activities that encourage stress reduction into your events and avoid conversations that may further the stress or trigger negative emotions related to the past. Doing this helps to foster an inclusive environment where everyone is able to feel welcome, comfortable, and valued.


A thoughtful approach is required when celebrating the holidays with loved ones going through recovery. By initiating open communication, planning sober-friendly activities, attending sober events, creating a safe space, and being mindful you can help contribute to a joyous and substance-free holiday season for all. While there are challenges, supporting those in recovery over the holidays is a meaningful way to celebrate the season.