Addiction After the Holidays

The festivities are behind. The turmoil is over, and the decoration lights are off. The frenetic rush of the end of year celebrations seems behind but what about addiction? What’s left after the holidays?

For many, a trail of Christmas magic, sparkly images, and heart-warming memories remain, but for others the void inside is left intact if not deepened. Seeing the days go by almost feels relieving.


Holidays + Addiction

Now let’s add addiction into the mix. Often family gatherings such as Christmas can be an important potential source of tension or simply a window for the reemergence of unresolved issues. This is not a bad moment to consider either getting into treatment or reinforcing recovery through shorter versions of a treatment program. The season could have stirred up conflict, losses, inner struggles, or just accentuated the potentially destroying cravings.

Strangely, it is frequent that the real dangerous moment for relapse and a behaviour or drug binge is after the holidays. If you managed to stay afloat through it all, it is afterwards that loneliness, reality, the emotional hangover and some new loss here and there could hit with full swing.

It is true that this time of the year is heavily loaded with social, cultural, and emotional attributions closely related to important triggers for drug use or addictive behaviours. In other words, when you are caught in the trap of addiction, some of the things that are “supposed” to happen or that we are “expected” to do, can have a strong impact. Spending time with family, drinking and eating…a lot, spending money, having to look good, and enjoying yourself are just a few of the “must do’s” that can turn out to be a double-sided coin.

What to Do?

Stay aware. Reach out for support. It might be a good idea to review how closely you are following your recovery plan if you have one. There will always be a group available, a clinic, a sponsor, a helping hand. Like you read before, these times can get busy and fast paced. Keep it simple, get back to the basics of what it means to stay healthy.


A hint: the meaning or symbolism that certain dates acquire are not engraved in stone. You can give the season, any season, the meaning you want! You can create, choose, change, or make up a new one. The only limit is your own mind.

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