Inpatient addiction rehab can be an overwhelming adjustment, not just for the person with the addiction, but also for the family. One of the most frequently asked questions about inpatient addiction rehab is whether or not you’re allowed to go home for the holidays. After all, is Christmas really Christmas without the whole family together? Unfortunately, the answer to this may not be what most people expect— and it’s especially not what those in recovery hope to hear. Spending the holidays at home, especially during the early stages of addiction treatment, is not a good idea.
Going Home for Christmas Is Ill-Advised
A lot of people seem to be under the impression that rehab facilities are somehow required to release their patients for the holidays. However, committing to addiction recovery is nothing like having a job or going to school; there are no “breaks.” Even Christmas isn’t a good enough reason for you to leave addiction treatment before you’re ready. This may come as a disappointment, but staying in rehab for the holidays is essential for your sobriety. Otherwise, you risk facing many consequences that threaten your progress.
This is part of why going home for Christmas during addiction treatment is so discouraged. Rehab, no matter how long you’ve been there, is a program that works to help you overcome your addiction step by step. Any kind of disruption in your established routine, even going home for just one day, might result in hindered progress or even a complete backtrack that leads to a relapse.
Relapse is always the worst case scenario when it comes to addiction recovery, and it’s more likely to happen for patients who go home for the holidays than for patients who complete their treatment program. This is only partly because of the disruption in the recovery program. The potential for relapse during a trip home for Christmas is also because, outside of rehab, your access to addictive substances will most likely breed temptation. So, ideally, you should stay in rehab during Christmas to avoid this.
Is Spending Christmas in Residential Rehab So Bad?
The short answer is: no. If you’ve entered rehab during the holiday season, you might think that enjoying Christmas might be next to impossible, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Spending Christmas away from home might feel a little discouraging at first, but when you have the opportunity to focus on yourself and your recovery without distraction, you’ll make that much more progress and feel great about it. Plus, it’s not as though your rehab center will be lacking in any holiday cheer. There are plenty of ways that the staff of addiction treatment centers can make Christmas at residential rehab feel warm, cozy and fun for the all patients in addiction recovery.
Decorations, both hand-made and store-bought, have always been a staple of the Christmas season. You might even feel that dressing up your home, office or dorm room is half the fun. The good news is that you’ll still be able to decorate for Christmas even if you spend it in rehab. Countless inpatient rehabs encourage the residents and staff to decorate for Christmas. This includes putting up and ornamenting Christmas trees, hanging streamers, and even assigning stockings to later fill with goodies.
Many of the decorations that rehab centers use are handmade by residents. In fact, a lot of inpatient rehab centers have some sort of crafting program or art department for patients in addiction recovery. This is because there is a lot of evidence to suggest that artistic hobbies can aid in the addiction recovery process by offering an outlet and distraction.
During Christmas, crafting can serve many other purposes. In addition to being an outlet for you, it also gives you a way of contributing to decorations, making cards and presents for your peers and loved ones, and helping to bring Christmas joy to others.
Christmas Cookies and Holiday Treats
What Christmas is complete without homemade cookies? Baking is a recreational activity that is especially popular in residential rehab since, like crafting, it allows you to create something by hand as a creative, therapeutic outlet during the healing process. During the holidays, you and your peers in recovery can spread a little cheer by baking cookies and other holiday treats for yourselves, the staff and each other.
The Christmas Party
Even rehabs have Christmas parties. In fact, most inpatient residential rehab facilities throw at least one every year for their staff and patients. Contrary to what you might think, the Christmas parties at residential rehab facilities involve a lot of traditional activities like games, holiday movies, and TV specials— basically, everything that any other Christmas party would have. Except there is no alcohol or any other addictive substances, of course.
Cards and Presents
Christmas cards have always been a holiday tradition for most people, but especially for those in recovery. It’s not uncommon for people in rehab to bond over their shared struggles and experiences. In fact, there are many instances where people in residential rehab come out of it having made new lifelong friends. After all, a wide variety of intimate details get shared between recovering addicts during group sessions. So, during your holiday stay, you’ll have the opportunity to make and send Christmas cards, and even gifts, to others both inside and outside of the facility.
While returning home for the holidays is typically advised against, that doesn’t mean that your family can’t see you at the inpatient rehab facility. Regular visiting hours usually don’t change during the holidays, which allows families and friends to see you in a neutral, safe space without any risks or relapse triggers. Christmas visits are encouraged and serve as a platform for gift exchanges and other yuletide festivities.
Breaking Free from Addiction is the Best Christmas Gift You Can Give Yourself
Spending Christmas in residential rehab might not seem ideal, but it’s the best thing you can do to upkeep your recovery and ensure staying sober. At the Treatment Center’s residential addiction care facility, our staff will work hard to ensure that Christmas this year is as festive and as memorable as any. If you know someone who needs help with addiction recovery and needs a safe place to spend Christmas this year, have them call us at (844) 310-9546. We’ve already got the Christmas tree, the stockings, and the handmade decorations— all we need is you and your holiday cheer.