Recovering after the Holidays

Recovering after the Holidays

Holidays can leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and drained. You get a lot of exposure to people who you probably have complicated relationships with. If you’re in recovery for substance abuse or sex addiction, this can also be a very difficult time. Many people who are in recovery are also learning about the impact of their families of origin. This can make it difficult to know how to manage those old boundary issues, especially while you’re more aware of them.

The holidays can also be a difficult time for people who are experiencing relationship problems. The holidays can be quite showy. There are expectations to appear happy and content. Unfortunately, the relationship and sexual problems that you’re dealing with don’t evaporate because you’re dealing with a relationship issue.

Last but not least, the holiday tension can lead you to say things that you regret. If you’ve struggled to confront issues in your relationship, that tension may get pushed out by saying things in a mindless way.

If you’re still reading this, I’m guessing it’s a little late to give this advice. But I’ll give it anyway so that you can take it with you from this point on. It’s best to address things as they arise, rather than wait for a really stressful time to push you into addressing these things. However, putting this off, avoiding these things, and also not recognizing them are all very human things to do. You’re not the only one and these things sneak up on you.

Get your routines back.

The holidays can throw you out of your routines. Unfortunately, many of these routines involve health and wellness. There’s a reason that people scramble for New Years for resolutions. One is the guilt and shame they experience from falling out of their wellness routines. I don’t recommend you scramble for New Years. Instead, gently get on track in various elements of your life. Break your wellness and health into physical, mental, and emotional health. How can you get back into these routines? Take one step at a time to get back into them. If you fling yourself back into a routine, you’ll likely fizzle out before you even reach your goals.

Reassess recovery plans.

I think it’s a good idea to do this with a therapist who is skilled in dealing with addictions. Reviewing your recovery plan can be critical. This may not mean that you’re specifically identifying how to avoid a behavior, because you’re possibly already doing this. Instead, it’s better to identify how emotions and stress impact your recovery. Having that outside professional to help you identify possible pitfalls is highly recommended.

Be gentle with yourself.

If you’re struggling, be kind to yourself about it. The holidays can be difficult and take their toll. If you’re struggling or this exposed some of the issues you’re dealing with, it’s ok. Try not to fall for those shame voices in your head. Instead, remind yourself it’s human and do the best you can.

Take responsibility.

Whether it’s how you treat yourself, or how you’ve treated your relationship, take responsibility. Own it. There’s no better time to deny and avoid. Stop defending and work on the things that you want to work on. Don’t wait another year to then have tension push you into regrettable comments. Start taking responsibility now. Work on your relationships. Make sex a priority so it matches what you want.

Work on overall healing.

What wounds do you just bandage up, then go on to ignore? Focus on healing them. Identify what you hang on to and what you need to let go of. What resources do you need to help you begin or continue this healing process?


The holidays can be a great time of fun and connection. However, for many of you, it’s not that way. Life continues to happen and so do the difficult things that come with being a human. If you’re struggling and need support to help you process through this, feel free to contact us today to learn more about how we can help.


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