Who says you need substances to enjoy Christmas? Whether you are in recovery or not, a growing trend shows people choosing sobriety, including during the holidays. For individuals who are in substance use recovery, finding new ways to celebrate the season is a must. Looking for some suggestions? We’ve got some ideas..
Why you must prioritize your recovery during the holidays
When we look at the various upcoming Christmas events on our calendars — especially work parties and family gatherings — we might feel a bit of dread. As an individual in recovery, we know that these are the kinds of situations that have the potential to jeopardize our sobriety.
While it’s true that treatment and aftercare provide you with effective relapse prevention strategies and coping skills, when it comes to the holly jolly Christmas festivities, it may not be enough. If you have any qualms about the strength of your sobriety, it’s always best to put your recovery first and just skip these events altogether.
8 ways to celebrate Christmas in recovery
Instead of trying to make your traditional celebrations work this year, why not get a little creative? Consider reinventing Christmas this year by creating new traditions. Looking for some ideas? Give these fun sober activities a try:
- Find a skating rink: If you happen to have a local skating rink, grab some friends and head out for some fun on the ice. With any luck, the rink will be playing Christmas tunes to skate along to. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate to share, and don’t forget your warm gloves.
- Organize a caroling night: Bring back a classic tradition! Gather a group of friends (and their kids) to entertain the neighborhood with some tunes. Bundle up and make the rounds singing your all-time favorite Christmas carols down streets and in front yards. Even if nobody hears you, you will have a blast.
- Host a Christmas movie night: Invite some sober friends over for a festive movie night. Pick a couple of classic Christmas movies to watch, and add to the fun by baking some Christmas cookies and decorating them together.
- Locate a boat parade: If you live near a lake or ocean, chances are there is a boat parade happening at some point during the holiday season. The boat owners show off their boats, decorated in blazing lights and holiday sounds and even may have a Santa on board.
- Check out sober meetups: For lots of sober social events and fellowship groups, go to meetup.com and search “recovery and fellowship” in your area. During the holidays there is always a smorgasbord of sober social activities.
- Visit an amusement park: If you live near an amusement park along the lines of Six Flags, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm or Universal Studios, these parks go all out for the holiday season. Make a whole day and night of it!
- Have a chili cook-off: Plan a chili cook-off offering prizes for first, second and third place winners. If weather permits, hold the cook-off outdoors with festive lights, an array of holiday mocktails, fresh-baked cornbread, warm apple cider and Christmas music.
- Make Christmas cards for kids in the hospital: Gather a group of friends together to create pretty Christmas cards to take to the children who have to spend the holidays in the hospital. Make a few dozen cards, and spruce them up with glitter, ribbons and some colorful Christmas stickers, and deliver them to the front desk of your local hospital.
How wonderful it is to find joy in the Christmas season without the need of substances!
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call 866-313-6307.