Living with addiction, in general, can be challenging. Many uncontrollable factors can either progress or regress an addiction. Those factors become even more uncontrollable at Christmas, making the festive period difficult for addicts, recovering addicts, and their loved ones.

Whilst there are some common challenges, which you may already be experiencing now, before Christmas day, there are also ways to manoeuvre around the hustle and bustle.

Preparing for Christmas, the festive period and all that comes with the holiday season as an alcoholic or drug abuser is recommended. With preparations, relapse can be prevented, possible damages can be reduced, recovery can continue, and Christmas can be a manageable period for all.

Here’s some insight into living with addiction at Christmas, along with some advice on preparing for the upcoming season. Available to guide you through, offer free addiction assessments and treatment all year round, we’re here to help you at Asana Lodge.


Expected challenges of living with an addition at Christmas

There are many challenges linked to the festive season, which are known to trigger addictive behaviours. Reasonably, every person will react differently to challenges and have their triggers.

Although Christmas is a happy time of year, it’s also a stressful, pressurising period that throws many people out of their routines and lifestyles. For someone abusing drugs or alcohol or recovering from addiction, negative, demanding, and unpredictable feelings can trigger habits.

Some of the most common challenges which make living with addiction at Christmas complicated include:

  • Financial worries
  • Excessive exposure to drugs and alcohol
  • Change in routine
  • Relaxed messages
  • Spending time with loved ones, especially those who are unsupportive or uneducated on addiction
  • Stress and pressure
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Fear of missing out

Combined with personal, existing triggers, the above challenges can make Christmas challenging for all parties. Yet with awareness and some planning, the festive period can be enjoyed, manoeuvred through, and moved on from.


Preparing for Christmas

Plan your time

There’s a lot of downtime attached to the holiday season. Living with addiction at Christmas can be tricky, as you’ll have fewer distractions to focus on. You should plan your time to make sure that you are keeping busy yet still with balance in mind. Planning your time will also make you aware of any family get-togethers or Christmas parties you may need to prepare for.

Source personal support

Support will be essential to get through the Christmas period. It’s an emotional and reflective time, which can feel lonely for those struggling. Instead of isolating yourself from the festivities, sourcing personal support from those you trust is encouraged, such as family members.

Maintain your usual routine and coping strategies

Although routines commonly go out of the window over the festive period, routine is imperative for both addicts and recovering addicts. A routine provides clear direction, a personal checklist, and a way of coping. You should maintain your usual routine and coping strategies as much as possible. Expect some minor changes yet prioritise habits and activities which benefit your mental health and focus.

Attend usual support groups

If you already attend support groups, you should continue to attend your meetings across the Christmas period. Sessions will continue here at Asana Lodge to ensure that our clients can access an escape, share experiences with peers, and source advice.

Connecting with people going through the same experience as you of living with addiction at Christmas will be beneficial.

Be selective with your engagements

You may be inundated with invites and get-togethers this Christmas. You’ll want to be selective to make sure that you attend those which will contribute to your festive period, rather than wreck it. Engagements which are supportive, comfortable, and distractive are encouraged. Remember that you can say no to any event or engagement which will trigger your addiction. Make sure that you have some form of enjoyment across the period to avoid feeling alone or secluded but be selective with your time.

Avoid the ‘it’s Christmas’ mindset

The average person will use the ‘it’s Christmas’ excuse repeatedly. Avoid entering this mindset, as it justifies unhealthy habits and choices. Remain in control, rational and entirely focused across your decisions.

Avoid high-risk settings of drug and alcohol exposure

Drug and alcohol exposure, as a whole, will be greater this time of year. Yet, some places will be more accepting than others. Avoid high-risk settings, which normalise binge drinking, and which influence overindulgence.

Minimise stress

Stress is one of the most common causes of substance abuse and relapse. By minimising stress as much as possible, you’ll be in a better headspace to enjoy Christmas through stress management techniques and reducing any pressure.

Enjoy the little things of Christmas

Living with an active addiction or even through addiction recovery can be engulfing. With the proper support, the process can get easier. Be mindful and grateful for the little things this Christmas.


Preventing relapse during the festive period

If sobriety is your aim throughout the festive period, you can set it as a goal by following our advice here at Asana Lodge. Preventing relapse will be much more likely by keeping in control, mindful, and sober this Christmas.

Sobriety is, however, for the long-term, which may be difficult to maintain through self-help. Private drug and alcohol treatment services are available to you through our treatment centre to suppress and manage addiction. Available over the festive period and all year round, support, treatments and therapies, holistic services, dual diagnosis treatment, relapse prevention and aftercare can all be experienced.

Living with addiction at Christmas is the reality for some. You can change this for the future and live through addiction recovery instead. To prevent relapse, reach out for our guidance.



John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 17 December 2021

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

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