Maintaining Recovery through the Holiday Season

Group of people holding sparklers outside in the snow

The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family in celebration. But these events, where alcohol and other drugs are sometimes present, can be difficult for people in recovery.

Here are a few tips from our substance use experts to maintain your recovery this holiday season:

1. Lean on your community.
Talking to someone who understands what you’re going through can make a big difference. Whether that’s someone who is also in recovery, a counselor or a trusted friend- let them know what you’re feeling.

2. Have an exit plan.
If a work event or family party is becoming too much, it’s ok to step away. Take a walk outside or call a friend. It’s also ok to leave early or say no altogether. If you think a gathering will cause you undue stress, skip it. Give your energy to the people who support you and your recovery.

3. Do as little or as much as you want.
It’s easy to feel pressured to join the race of the season. There is no secret “holiday contest” and no one is keeping score. Go all out on the lights and skip the dinners—or cuddle in a blanket all season. It’s your holiday.

4. Try to find gratitude in each day.
This is good practice all year round. During the holiday season, sometimes we talk about gratitude a lot but fail to “walk the talk”. Learning to identify the good helps your mood (and re-wires your brain towards the good!)

5. Go easy on yourself.
Recovery is a lifelong journey. It’s normal to struggle. This season is stressful for those in the best of circumstances. Those of us with unrelated life-stressors have even more on our plate. But there is help for whatever you’re going through.

If this time of year (or any other!) is taking a toll and you need help maintaining recovery, New Vista is here for you. Our staff can connect you to counseling and treatment services. We offer outpatient services, medication assisted treatment and residential treatment for men, women and pregnant or post-partum women. We also have peer support specialists on staff who know how you feel, because they’ve been in the same position. Our 24-Hour Helpline, 1.800.928.8000 can be reached at any time, holidays included!