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5 Tips for Maintaining Your Recovery During the Holidays

Lauren Feld, LCSW profile image
By Lauren Feld, LCSW • Updated Apr 18, 2022

You’ve worked hard to sustain your recovery from substances, and holiday time is no exception. The winter season can bring old friends and family around, and that can be stressful and may threaten to compromise your sobriety. 

In this article, we’ll give you five useful tips to help you maintain your recovery during the holiday season. You will also learn how to avoid uncomfortable or triggering situations. 

1. Identify Your Support System

Be mindful of who you choose to be around during holiday celebrations. Determine who you consider to be your support system, and bring an accountability partner along with you to events.[1] 

Your accountability partner can be a family member, friend or someone who is committed to aiding in your recovery. They should be aware of situations that could be triggering for you, including certain people that might be at an event or topics of conversation that could bring discomfort. 

This person should also be an ally in your recovery and someone you can turn to for support.

2. Plan Ahead

Before attending a party or event, reach out to the host and ask them who else will be coming and if any alcoholic beverages or other substances will be present.[1,3] 

Make sure you are aware of any planned activities or games that could prompt a relapse. 

Gather as much information as possible to determine if the event will be comfortable and safe for you and your recovery. If you are ill at ease with the information provided about the gathering, it is likely beneficial to you to sit out this particular event. 

3. Practice Self-care

Gift-giving isn’t just for others; it’s for you to celebrate yourself, too! 

Take advantage of special deals and offers for things like massages, a new pair of shoes, and more. Taking care of yourself is an essential part of your recovery, so feel free to pamper yourself but within reason.[1,2,3] 

You deserve to be recognized for all that you do, including how hard you have been working on yourself and committing to a recovery-oriented lifestyle. 

If you are experiencing financial hardship and buying yourself a gift isn’t an option, consider rewarding yourself with an activity you enjoy. This can be reading a book, watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or baking cookies to enjoy with loved ones.

4. Create New Traditions

Creating new traditions can be beneficial to your recovery, as these will be fun activities that you and your loved ones will look forward to for years to come.

Identify activities that don’t revolve around substance use.[3] For example, you could watch movie marathons, build and decorate gingerbread houses, or play board games with friends and family. 

If you don’t have loved ones in your life who are supportive of your recovery, you can look for neighborhood meetups. For example, join a group activity for hanging holiday lights in town that will allow you to connect with others in positive and uplifting ways.

5. Have a Backup Plan

If things become uncomfortable, no matter where you are, make sure you have a planned way out.[1,2,3]

Speak with your accountability partner before attending an event to create a plan for leaving the event quickly if things become uncomfortable or triggering. 

You can plan to have a movie to attend, or can have a phrase you and your accountability partner can say to each other when you want to leave. 

Try not to worry about the reactions that others may have to you leaving. Your recovery is a top priority, regardless of what others may think.

You’ve Got This!

Though the holiday season can be extra stressful when you’re working to sustain your recovery, the tips above can help you be prepared for any obstacles that come your way. 

You’ve come so far – you’ve got this!

To learn if Bicycle Health can help you or a loved one stop feeling stuck on opioids, schedule an enrollment call or give us a call today at (844) 943-2514.

Photo by Nicole Michalou from Pexels

By Lauren Feld, LCSW

Lauren Feld, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, received her Master's in Social Work from the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at The University of Chicago. She has worked in the social services and behavioral health field for over ten ... Read More


1. Staying Sober During Summer Holidays.Wellbridge. Published May 21, 2021. Accessed December 7, 2021.

2. Trying to Stay Sober This Holiday Season? We’ve Got You Covered. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Published November 23, 2021. Accessed December 7, 2021.

3. When the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is the Most Troubling: Holidays and Sobriety. Gateway Foundation.

blog/holidays-and-sobriety. Published December 19, 2019. Accessed December 7, 2021.

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