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Holidays and Recovery

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Holiday’s According to the CDC, are the most dangerous times of the year for drug-and-alcohol-related deaths are December, January, and March. Nearly 91,000 deaths have been reported for the month of December since 1999.

Americans celebrate many events with the use of alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol has a prominent place at weddings, anniversaries, graduations, birthdays, holidays, and even funerals! The holiday season between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s creates a challenge for individuals working to maintain their recovery for multiple reasons. Seeing loved one’s drinking can trigger drinking thoughts that lead to relapse. Many clients in early recovery have stated, “It seemed like everyone was having fun except me during the holiday.” Other holiday triggers include financial distress, unhealthy family dynamics, disappointments of not feeling loved during holidays, and limited experience dealing with holidays drug- or alcohol-free.

Some of us can only imagine how people in recovery feel at this time of the year, according

holidays can be hard.


What Christmas Used to Be Like

Often when you’re in active addiction, the days run together. You might forget important dates like anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmas. You might participate in the bare minimum because you have other activities and substances on your brain. This is comparable to what it was like for me. Although I have always gone out of my way to celebrate holidays and birthdays, I would plan it out to spend as little time as possible with my family and friends so I could go out and do what I wanted: party and drink.

Another plan was to make it my job to find out which nightclubs and bars were open on Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Afterwards, I went out of my way to convince my sister or any other family member we were visiting, to come out and drink with me. This would of course come after making it my business to purchased vodka and orange juice to have mimosas on Christmas day. When not having alcohol in the house all day, I felt anxiety, so mimosas was a must have.


The participants at TEECH shared a few feelings and thoughts they are having during the

holiday season as well.

Ayman said he misses his family and feels all alone because he has messed up so bad. He stated his family is not talking to him and this makes him sad, but he is going to change this and do the right thing and next year will be different.
Brittney said she is struggling in her recovery right now and she is not sure if she will go to her family house during the holidays because they are still actively using. But she misses them and having so many mixed emotions.
Darrin said he is having a lot of anxiety because of the uncertainties of the holidays with his family because he has been gone for the past 19 ½ years.
Leslie said she is trying to be headstrong, but she feels alone and angry.
Joaquin said he is looking forward to the holiday sober and out of jail. He said he was just happy that his family even wants him around during the holidays.

Remember showing a little empathy and compassion at this time of the year for those in active addiction, family, friends, and the community can brighten up someone’s day.

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