Holiday season is in full swing and for many, it’s the most exciting, joyous time of year. While the festivities and celebrations can be a lot of fun, for individuals recovering from substance abuse or in active addiction, this time of year can be stressful, exhausting, and downright dangerous.

December is a flurry of activity with secret Santa gift exchanges, company holiday parties, family dinners and more. Many of these outings can be riddled with temptations in the form of alcohol, mental health stressors and disruption to much-needed routines.

Creating a plan before participating in anything holiday-related can be the key to maintaining sobriety and enjoying the season instead of dreading it. Our top tips for navigating this potentially difficult time include:

Limiting Triggers

Self-awareness is key when in recovery. It’s important to be honest with yourself and outline people, situations or substances that will tempt you to relapse. Will you be near a family member or “friend” who doesn’t support your journey? Will you be in a setting that will give you access to alcohol or drugs? Do certain social gatherings heighten your anxiety? Asking yourself these questions before saying yes to invitations can save you a lot of trouble in the moment.

Setting Boundaries

If you’ve identified your triggers and are feeling confident in facing them, it’s time to prepare how you’ll set boundaries if things get difficult. Practice how you’ll decline a cocktail, or how you’ll remove yourself from a conversation that is upsetting you. People may ask you why you’re saying “no” to specific questions, so make sure you’re ready to explain your reasoning or deflect if it’s not something you’re willing to share. Finally, if you feel as though you have put yourself at risk by being somewhere that’s jeopardizing your recovery, then have an “escape plan”. This could mean finding a moment to sneak out of a party unnoticed, or having a friend make up an excuse to pick you up for another pressing matter that needs to be handled.

Practicing Self-Care Rituals

Overloading your schedule with too many activities is a sure-fire way to overwhelm yourself. You can absolutely have fun, but make sure to continue practicing rituals that ground you. If you already have a hobby, like exercising, reading, writing, or meditating, make sure to keep it in your routine through Christmas and New Year’s. If not, try something new that both interests and gives you alone time to decompress.

Having a Support System

As the saying goes, it takes a village and this rings true for those in recovery, too. Not everyone may understand the trials and tribulations of substance abuse, so make sure that you have secure group of friends and family members who will be ready and available to help you when you need it. It’s also important to stay engaged with peers you’ve met in recovery. Chances are, they’re experiencing very similar emotions to yours during the holidays and will be able to relate to your struggles without judgement.

About Scottsdale Recovery Center

Since 2008, Scottsdale Recovery Center® has served the needs of people nationwide searching for a successful solution to remove active alcohol, opioid, cocaine and other addictions to enjoy the benefits of living drug-free. With four facilities in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, Scottsdale Recovery Center® continues to reset the standard of Detox, Inpatient Residential, Intensive Outpatient, and Sober Living practices. Scottsdale Recovery Center® is a trusted resource, locally and nationally, to the public, health care providers, and media outlets seeking knowledge to support their investigations and bring addiction industry awareness needed to save lives. Visit Scottsdale Recovery Center for more information or call 1-888-NODRUGS.

Note: Information herein is NOT intended to be taken as medical advice. No therapeutic or medical claims are either implied or made. Before starting any addiction detox, treatment or recovery program please consult with a health care professional. DO NOT ALTER ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT, OR THE USE OF MEDICATIONS, WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF A LICENSED, MEDICAL CARE PROVIDER. The information herein is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.



Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.