10 Holiday Activities for Staying Sober in Addiction Recovery

As the holidays draw near, many people in addiction recovery may feel anxious about how to navigate the potential triggers and temptations of the season. Here are ten activities that can help you stay sober and enjoy the holidays in a safe, positive, and healthy way.

The Importance of Staying Busy and Mindful

Staying busy and mindful is always important during addiction recovery in Birmingham, AL, but extra vigilance is required around the holidays. The combination of increased stress, family dynamics, and parties with alcohol or other substances can be a significant challenge for people in recovery. This is because the holidays can create an exciting or triggering environment where it is easy to forget the progress you have made in sobriety and instead choose to go back to old habits. Old relationships may resurface, or a past event may be remembered, which can lead to relapse.

However, it is possible to remain sober and happy during the holidays. By staying busy, participating in healthy activities, and setting boundaries and limits with yourself and others – you can make it through the season without a slip or relapse. Explore some of the possible ways to stay sober and engaged throughout the holidays below.

1. Spend Time With Loved Ones

Spending quality time with your family and friends can help put you in a positive, supportive mindset that will make it easier to stay sober. Make sure to have sober activities planned throughout the holidays, such as movie nights or game nights with friends or family. You can also plan a day trip to explore a local town or neighborhood you’ve wanted to visit.

2. Volunteer

Sometimes, simply focusing on helping others can help keep your own struggles in perspective. Look for volunteer opportunities in your area and find a cause you believe in. You’ll feel great about giving back, and it will distract you from the holiday stressors and temptations that try to detract you from addiction recovery.

3. Exercise

Exercising is a great way to give yourself an endorphin boost and take your mind off of any cravings or stress you may be feeling. Take a yoga class, go for a run around the neighborhood, or search for YouTube workout videos that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

4. Take Up A New Hobby or Activity

Taking up a new hobby or activity is an excellent way to stay engaged and sober throughout the holidays. You can try something that has always intrigued you, such as painting, photography, woodworking, gardening, or even learning a foreign language.

5. Get Creative With Your Decorations

Decorating your home for the holidays can be an enjoyable and creative activity that will help keep your mind off of addictive habits. Try creating decorations with items from around your house, such as arts and crafts supplies or Christmas lights. Consider hosting an ornament-making party with friends who are also in recovery.

Creating a new holiday tradition that is unique to your family can help make the holidays special and meaningful, even while in addiction recovery. This could include anything, such as baking holiday cookies or going on a winter walk in the park and creating a scavenger hunt.

6. Go for a Nature Walk

Spending some time outside in nature can be incredibly refreshing and calming for the mind and body. Consider taking a walk around your neighborhood or going for a hike in the woods with friends or family members.

7. Take Part in Some Self-Care Rituals

Self-care is important year-round, but especially during the holidays when people get caught up in all the hustle and bustle. Make time for yourself to do something you enjoy, such as reading a book, taking a bath, or watching a movie. You could even buy yourself a small gift that will serve as an ongoing reminder of your dedication to sobriety.

8. Create a Sober Support System

A  sober support system during addiction recovery is essential for maintaining your sobriety during the holidays. Connect with other people who are in recovery and make plans to get together throughout the season. You can also reach out to trusted friends and family members who will be able to provide emotional support if needed.

9. Limit Social Obligations

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the number of events that come with the holidays, so it’s important to set boundaries and limits when it comes to how much you commit yourself to. It’s okay to say no if something doesn’t feel right or if you need some time for yourself.

You don’t have to say yes to every event invitation this holiday season. If attending certain events may trigger unhealthy behaviors or thoughts, it’s okay to politely decline or limit your social obligations.

10. Make a Plan

It is important to have a plan in place before the holiday season begins. This could include setting realistic expectations, having a list of sober activities you can do, and identifying people you can turn to for help if needed. Having a plan will help keep you on track so that you can enjoy the holidays without succumbing to temptation or stress.

By following some of the tips above, you can make the most out of the holidays while staying focused on your sobriety and recovery goals. The importance of self-care should not be overlooked when navigating potentially tricky situations during this time of year. With a positive outlook and support from loved ones, you can enjoy the holidays in a safe and healthy way.

Support for Addiction Recovery in Birmingham, AL

At Birmingham Recovery Center, we understand how difficult addiction recovery can be and that the holidays may present a unique set of challenges. In addition to our medical detox services, we offer addiction education, individual therapy, and group support to help individuals on their path toward sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment in Birmingham, AL.


  • Ian Henyon, LPC

    Having worked in a variety of clinical settings since 2008, Ian brings well over a decade of treatment center experience to the leadership role at Birmingham Recovery Center. As Executive Director, he is responsible for all aspects of BRC’s operations and provision of services. Being firmly grounded in the notion of servant leadership, Ian is focused on establishing a supportive work environment as a foundation for providing superior clinical services to BRC’s clients. Ian combines his extensive knowledge of treating addiction and psychiatric illness with the recognition that addiction is a disorder of the brain, to ensure that all clients are treated with the highest levels of respect and compassion. Ian is a licensed professional counselor. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and he received a Master of Science degree from Prescott College.


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