When it’s not the most wonderful time of the year…

The holiday season comes with a lot of expectations, from family, friends, relationships, even work; it impacts your finances, takes up your time and while it’s meant to be a joyous month, it can be stressful and exhausting.

Recovering from addiction and mental illness means learning a new way of living. During the festive season, this is often tested. The holidays can be a triggering and challenging, especially for someone new to recovery.

Recovery is one step at a time and it’s good to look at the festive season in the same way, as one day at a time.

Give yourself permission to put yourself first. 

During Christmas we can get so caught up in making this the best and happiest time of the year, that we put everyone else before ourselves. But in the long run, this doesn’t benefit anyone. There are no ‘rules’ for how you spend the holidays and it’s okay to love your family, and also set boundaries with them.

Get rid of the idea of perfect!

There’s no such thing. We’re all perfectly imperfect – regardless of what you might see on social media, in movies or hear from your colleagues or friends!

According to a survey carried out by Mental Health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Twitter, 49 percent of Twitter users feel pressured to have fun during the festive period, making them feel more anxious about the holiday. 41 percent also experience feelings of loneliness and isolation during the season as they scroll online through pictures of idyllic Christmas parties and perfect family get-togethers.1

To counter this, CALM, working with Twitter and a host of celebrities, are encouraging conversation around the issue, getting social media users to share all sides to their Christmas using the hashtag #YuleSlog with the aim to show that there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ Christmas!

As part of the campaign, CALM have created NOEL, a character whose tips are designed to help those struggling at this time of year.2

  • N stands for saying no if you need to, whether that’s about buying presents you can’t afford or going to an event you don’t want to!
  • O encourages people to open up.
  • E wants people to enjoy what they can and take pleasure in the small things.
  • L invites people to look forward. Christmas is just one day; plan ahead and give yourself things to look forward to in January!

You are holding the steering wheel of your recovery.

And you’re doing what’s best for you and those around you. Whether that’s skipping an event where you know you’ll be triggered, setting some boundaries or going to your Day Programs or a Twelve Step meeting, your recovery must always come first.

Reach out.

Your recovery is the best gift you give to your family, your friends and yourself. So reach out, to family and friends, to your sponsor, or to us at South Pacific Private. We’re available 24/7. If you need to talk to a member of our team call 1800 063 332.

You can also find us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


  1. https://www.creativebrief.com/bite/calm-launch-yuleslog-combat-loneliness-christmas
  2. https://www.thecalmzone.net/2019/11/christmas-getting-too-much-introducing-noel/