Staying Sober During the Holiday Season

Staying sober during the holiday season

The Holiday season, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, can be the most difficult time for drug addicts and alcoholics to stay sober and avoid a relapse. The holiday season is a time when drinking is accepted and even expected.

Bars are well stocked, offices hold parties, families get together, and many people celebrate these times by drinking or even doing drugs. These 60 days can seem long and very stressful for the addict and their families.

Top Reasons Why Addicts Relapse During the Holidays

Remembering Past Holidays

The holiday season can prove to be one of the most difficult times for someone who has recently become sober. The newly recovered addict may experience thoughts of past holiday gatherings; many of these memories may include drug or alcohol use. These thoughts will link their alcohol or drug use not only to the holidays, but to having fun. If this linking happens, it can be extremely difficult for the addict to cope with the idea of a sober holiday season.

Everyone Else is Using and Having Fun

When the recovering addict attends parties and celebrations, all around them people are getting drunk, possibly using drugs, and having fun. These events may begin to stir up various emotions and could potentially put the recently sober addict at risk for relapsing.

In some cases, those who have struggled with a drug or alcohol addiction and are still sober, may try to ignore their feelings that they may be having during the holiday seasons. Ignoring these feelings may cause them to be depressed and could cause them to think about drinking or using drugs.

Blending In

For people who have not yet gotten help for their drug or alcohol addiction, the holidays can cause even greater problems. They addict may try to “blend in” with other individuals who are celebrating the holidays; by doing so they begin to deny or ignore the fact that they have an addiction. This denial can actually lead to an increase in drug or alcohol use, sometimes with unfortunate consequences.

Statistics have shown that overdosing, drunk driving accidents, domestic violence, depression, and suicides all increases during the holiday season. In the case of someone who has recently become sober, they may lose control to their triggers and cravings, and try to “blend in” by just have “one” drink or using just “one” time. This type of thinking will only lead to a relapse, and the addiction will take over.

Guilt and Loneliness

Oftentimes, current addicts and recovering addicts alike have some kind of shame or even loneliness about their addiction. These emotions may begin to break through to the surface and increase and worsen during the holidays. This is because they are around their family and close friends a lot of the time.

Most of these people do not have an addiction or a hard time staying sober; therefore, it can make the addict feel alone and guilty. They may feel like they are unable to talk to anyone at the events or gatherings, especially if they are having a difficult time staying focused on their recovery. For those struggling with an addiction or with their sobriety, the holiday season is the time that they need the most support.


The holiday season can put a tremendous strain on those who are recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Family gatherings may become very stressful and many who work in retail stores will have long, tiring days. These situations can trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms which can lead to a relapse.

Staying Sober

Staying sober during the holidays is important, and anyone recovering from any addiction needs support to help them avoid emotional pitfalls and deal with their triggers and cravings; this will help the addict find happiness by staying sober during holiday season.

Overcoming Challenges

The challenges of staying sober during the holiday season are difficult, but they can be overcome. It is important for an addict to remember everything that counseling, therapy, and meetings have taught them. Practice the relapse prevention techniques and find other supportive and sober people to be around.

A Great Way to Start the New Year

Making it through the holiday season without relapsing is a great way to start the New Year, and it can help any addict who has recently become sober to really believe that an addiction free life is enjoyable, and is completely possible during the holidays.