How to cope this festive season as a recovering addict

Planning is key in the festive season

This time of year can be very challenging for people in recovery from substance addictions. Celebrations centered on alcohol and Christmas traditions can be very problematic and triggering for people in recovery from alcohol addiction, from substance addiction.

Have a routine.

Routine is so important in recovery. However, it can go out the window for all of us over the holidays; people are up late and sleeping in. Keep a structure and routine such as: 

  • good sleep practices, 
  • making sure that you eat well, 
  • getting your daily exercise. 

All those things that affect us physiologically are also going to affect us emotionally and psychologically. The more we can keep them in place, the better resourced we’ll be to deal with other challenges that come our way and mitigate any threats to our recovery.

Stay connected with your recovery community. 

In the festive period we get very caught up with family and friends. That’s hugely important, but other things can fall by the wayside. 

Acknowledge how you feel. 

Holidays are not necessarily a great time for everyone. Many people struggle, particularly people in early recovery. It’s okay to acknowledge that it’s difficult. People feel sometimes they need to put on a brave face and not dampen the Christmas spirit by drawing attention to their struggles. However, it’s really important that people are able to do that. It’s important for their recovery, and it’s important for mental health in general, that people can make space for a variety of different feelings. Yes, Christmas can be enjoyable, but it can also be stressful and difficult.

Check in, 

Either just self reflection or with someone that you trust or your therapist. We can see it as a time of indulgence, and have a tendency to give ourselves greater latitude than we normally would. Be vigilant that this doesn’t spill over into your recovery, that the holidays don’t become a justification to drink or to act out.


Tease out your plans yourself or, for someone who is in early recovery, with your support system. Think about how you have spent the festivities previously and ask yourself questions like; 

  • What do you normally do? 
  • How does that normally go for you? 
  • Has that been healthy? 
  • Has it had an impact on your sobriety and your recovery in the past and what lessons can be learned?

Have a support person 

Someone who is able to challenge you if they feel that you’re deviating. That person might be your therapist, a friend who you’ve gone through treatment with, or a family member who has experience of your addiction and recovery.

For families and friends, acknowledge that this can be a difficult time for people in recovery. Be open and honest. If you’re concerned, say it. At Serene Rehabilitation Centre we provide confidential support to anyone in need of help with a Substance Use Disorder issue, to patients and families. We are a rehabilitation center located in Nairobi, Kenya. Reach us through call or text 0746460202 today if you have questions or need to speak with someone for support. We have a safe haven for you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hello! Are you or a loved one in need of help? Please let me know so I can assist and guide you through this process. Or if you prefer to call in, please dial +254 746460202.
Serene Hospital
How can we help?