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How to Celebrate the Holidays While in Rehab

Celebrating the holidays while in rehab is a depressing prospect for some. It is important to remember that the holidays are an excellent time to become sober for both your friends and family. According the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stress can cause relapse, being alone during the holidays is a source of stress for some people. Most people who are in either inpatient or outpatient rehab during the holidays do in fact celebrate both their recovery and the holiday season.

Celebrating the Holidays in Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehabs usually have a variety of holiday activities and group sessions planned to both keep your mind off the drug use and to celebrate the joy of the holiday. Some common activities are:

  • Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners,
  • family and friend visits,
  • celebration outings and hikes,
  • making Christmas tree decorations,
  • making Thanksgiving decorations,
  • making cards and writing letters to friends and loved ones, and
  • parties within the rehab.

Most inpatient rehabs are also understanding of a variety of religious beliefs and traditions. They celebrate all of them instead of just Christmas or Hanukkah. Many nonreligious rehabs will celebrate a nondenominational holiday.

Participation in these activities is often voluntary but it is recommended that you try to get into the holiday spirit.

Celebrating the Holidays in Outpatient Rehab

Volunteering is a great way to spend the holidays!

Volunteering is a great way to spend the holidays!

There are many ways that you can celebrate the holidays while in outpatient rehab. Since you are not staying at the rehab you do have a lot of choice as to what to go and do to celebrate. If you do not have family or are far away from your family this can be a particularly hard time for you especially if you are in recovery. There are still holiday activities available that do not jeopardize the sobriety you’ve worked so hard for.

Check your rehab for activities

Many outpatient rehabs have holiday activities for their clients. These activities are usually posted on a bulletin board or inside the lobby or you can ask your counselor or coordinator. A few common activities are:

  • sober holiday parties – these are done within different therapy groups or through the rehab in general,
  • volunteer activities – many rehabs sponsor their clients to go to volunteer during the holidays. Some of the volunteer activities are:

o cooking or serving in homeless shelters,

o gift wrapping and deliveries,

o making holiday baskets, and

o visiting children’s homes and other shelters.

  • holiday dinners – many rehabs will sponsor or cook a holiday dinner for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  • Christmas present exchanges – most rehabs have some form of secret Santa program where you purchase a small gift and receive a small gift from another client.

These are sober activities and are often run by people at the outpatient rehab. There are also community groups such as churches and other organizations that have holiday dinners and parties that are either low cost or free to attend. Most of these parties do not offer alcohol and it is unlikely that drugs would be available there. For more information on celebrating, the holidays while in rehab call us at 800-481-6320.

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