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Christmas in Rehab: Supporting a Loved One During the Holidays

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Home recovery Christmas in Rehab: Supporting a Loved One During the Holidays

Having a loved one in rehab can be challenging for family members, especially during the holidays.  Throughout the festive season, families want to spend time together, upholding traditions and enjoying fellowship.  However, families with loved ones spending Christmas in rehab may wonder how they can share the holiday spirit with them. 

Supporting a loved one in rehab during Christmas can be achieved in several ways.  Here’s a look at some ways you can help your loved one in rehab feel included in the festivities.  

How to Support Someone Spending Christmas in Rehab

Christmas in RehabRehab is the last place your loved one wants to be this time of year.  If they begin to feel lonely or left out, their motivation to succeed in recovery can wane.  So, it’s important to do what you can to provide encouragement and support to someone who is spending Christmas in rehab.  

What you can do will depend on the type of rehab your friend, family member, or spouse is attending.   Here are some suggestions for boosting their spirits during the holidays based on the type of program.

Supporting Loved Ones In An Inpatient Rehab 

The holidays can be difficult for someone in an inpatient rehab during the season. These tips may help them feel less left out.

  • Visit your loved one as much as you can during the holidays.  Some rehab facilities have limited visiting hours, so try to take advantage of as many as possible.
  • Take part in family programs provided by the rehab.  Some facilities offer family therapy, family support groups, and educational classes for family members.  Show your support by learning as much as you can about addiction and the recovery process.
  • Bring facility-approved gifts or other items.  Contact the rehab to find out what items are on their approved list.  You may be able to bring photos, books, snacks, music, clothing, games, hygiene products, and more.  These items will help boost your loved one’s spirits while they are missing home during the holidays.
  • Send cards or letters.  If you are unable to visit your loved one in rehab during Christmas, a heartfelt note or card can be helpful.  Share some stories of what’s happening at home during the holidays to help your loved one feel included.

Christmas in rehab won’t be easy, but there are positive aspects to it.  Your loved one is taking steps toward a happier, more fulfilling future.

Supporting Loved Ones in Outpatient Rehab Programs

Many people benefit from outpatient addiction treatment programs due to the flexibility they offer.  Clients undergo therapy s while continuing to live at home, maintain employment or attend school.  However, supporting a loved one in outpatient treatment during the holidays presents some challenges.

One significant challenge for someone in outpatient rehab is the high potential for relapse.  Parties and other celebrations that promote alcohol provide an abundance of triggers.  If your loved one is in outpatient treatment during Christmas, here are some ways to help them avoid relapsing:

  • Host a sober Christmas party.  A person in recovery from alcohol addiction will find it difficult to socialize with others who are drinking.  Host a party and serve a variety of alcohol-free cocktails along with good food.
  • Help your loved one keep their routine.  This is a key component of recovery that can be easy to break, especially during the busy holidays.
  • Drive your loved one to therapy sessions.  Many people find comfort and encouragement in this small gesture.  Offering to drive your loved one to treatment shows that you care about their success.

Research shows a strong correlation between social support and recovery success.  Numerous studies found that support from parents or spouses is associated with less severe alcohol use.  They also show that support from friends and peers is associated with less severe alcohol abuse.

Seeing Beyond the Holidays

Getting through Christmas in rehab can be tough.  But, it’s important to stay focused on the bigger picture.  With this challenge successfully conquered, the next one will be easier.  Having fun sober is possible and very rewarding.  

Spending Christmas in rehab is your loved one’s chance at enjoying sober holidays with the family for many years to come.  Help your loved one keep this perspective by prioritizing their recovery over a few days of holiday celebrations.

At Design for Change Recovery, Family Therapy Plays a Vital Role in Our Treatment Approach

At Design for Change Recovery, we seek to help the whole family understand their role in a loved one’s recovery process.  We believe healthy family structures contribute to a person’s ability to avoid substance use.  To that end, our family therapy program provides a safe and supportive environment where family members can meet and resolve issues that may have contributed to their loved one’s substance use.

If you would like to know more about our treatment program, contact our Lancaster, CA facility by phone, email, or online.  We will be available to answer your questions and recommend a customized treatment plan designed especially for your loved one’s needs.

From everyone at Design for Change Recovery, we wish you a holiday season filled with warmth and cheer.


  • –  An Inverse Relationship Between Perceived Social Support and Substance Use Frequency in Socially Stigmatized Populations
Avoiding Holiday Relapse