End of the year holiday celebrations present special challenges for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Stress, financial strain, anxiety and temptation lurk in the shadows of festive shops and warmly lit homes. Fear of a relapse is all too real. To make it safely through the pitfalls of the season, you need to shine up your recovery toolbox and restock your storehouse of motivation.

Here are 5 tips for tuning up your recovery skills:

1. Double-up on support. Check in frequently with your sponsor and sober friends and attend extra support groups. Many 12-step programs increase the frequency of meetings during the holidays. Take advantage of these opportunities.

2. Review relapse triggers and coping strategies. The hard work you did in rehab to recognize triggers and cope with cravings will really pay off during the holidays. Review your skills and keep a journal of holiday challenges and how you managed them. You’ll have a personal reference guide to use throughout the year.

3. Stay positive and actively engaged in your life. Follow a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and keep up your exercise and meditation routines. Consider joining a gym or art class as a gift to yourself.

4. Try to achieve emotional balance. Continue with therapy and treatment for co-occurring disorders. Be selective about social engagements and family activities. Don’t be afraid to say “No” if your schedule is becoming too crowded and stressful.

5. Look beyond yourself. The holidays are a season for giving, and volunteer opportunities are everywhere. Participate in a holiday fun run or help prepare and serve a meal with the Salvation Army or another charity. Befriend someone who is new to recovery or host a party for sober friends. The joy you receive from helping others will keep you engaged and motivated in your recovery throughout the holidays—and long into the New Year.

Outpatient Life-Skills Training & Relapse Prevention
If fear of the holidays is keeping you from fully participating in the joys of the season, consider polishing up your recovery skills at Guardian IOP. Our Delray Beach intensive outpatient program offers a comfortable setting for a full range of treatment and recovery services. To learn more about first-time or post-relapse recovery, inquire online or speak with a Guardian addiction professional at 855.517.1871.


Reviewed for accuracy by:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.