Would you believe it if we said that Christmas is the perfect time of year to leave your family behind, forget the parties and gatherings and Christmas shopping, and Christmas markets and go to rehab?
With Christmas being a nostalgic time of year steeped in tradition, spending the Christmas season in residential rehab to get sober and leave alcohol behind doesn’t exactly spell “festive” by many people’s standards.
However, if you’re struggling with alcohol, drugs, or any type of addiction, it could be the best time of year for you to go for rehab treatment. Not only will you give yourself an opportunity to escape a trigger-filled environment but you create an opportunity to get ahead on your New Year’s resolutions and begin the new year with a fresh start.
If you’ve been considering going to a residential rehab to treat your drinking problem there are many reasons why the end of the year is the best time to start. So, let’s look at some of the benefits of doing so and what Christmas at rehab can look like for you.
1. It’s NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Let’s be honest – Christmas isn’t always as magical as we imagine it to be.
In fact, Christmas and family gatherings can be the most stressful time of the year for many.
More so, if you’re struggling with addiction.
Being around family might not necessarily feel like a good thing. Unstable family relations and a chaotic home environment can also be a factor in your drinking or drug misuse. Or it may be that your loved-ones are concerned and fearful for your wellbeing, or just fed up with your behaviours, and you feel that they are going to judge you for not having got your life back on track.
For many, Christmas has bad connotations, perhaps a loved one died around the Christmas season, perhaps an abusive episode took place, perhaps Christmas as a child had bad memories, all of these can feel like a reason to hide away from Christmas at the bottom of a bottle.
So while rehab at Christmas doesn’t immediately sound like a way to celebrate the occasion, ask yourself if the alternative is better – a Christmas at the bottom of a bottle or passed out on your sofa. And know that most patients that have found themselves in treatment during this time feel that they definitely did not regret their decision.
2. No Need to Be Alone
If you happen not to have family or friends to spend the holidays with, Christmas can make you feel abandoned and alone – especially when you see others appearing to have a great time. That in itself can be a major trigger for people who tend to misuse drugs or alcohol.
At a residential rehab, you are guaranteed to be surrounded by people who can relate to your struggles. Not to mention the numerous supportive staff who are passionate about helping you design a better life.
3. You Can Get Away from It All
There’s hardly ever a holiday party that doesn’t involve alcohol. Drugs, too, can be more accessible than ever. Not to mention casinos and office parties with colleagues, neighbourhood Christmas gatherings where nearly everywhere you turn there is the offer of a “warming drink” or a toast at a party. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction it feels like the only safe option is to stay at home away from everyone.
At a residential rehab, you will be guaranteed a safe space where you won’t be tempted by anyone or anything. There won’t be a family member around asking if you’d like a drink nor will you be tempted when watching others making toasts with alcoholic drinks. You’ll be living in an environment that is free from temptation, where you are able to focus on your needs, not what others are doing or expecting of you.
4. The Most Precious Gift of All
Being free from addiction is arguably the best Christmas gift you can give to both yourself and your loved ones. The feeling of freedom that comes with being sober is a present that no money can buy.
Your family and friends will appreciate this too, as addiction can take quite a toll on them as well as yourself. If you know you tend to wreak havoc over the holiday season, perhaps the best decision you can make is to take a break from it all.
But ultimately, you have to put yourself first. By starting treatment before the holidays, you can begin the New Year with a fresh and clean start.
5. Get Treatment in a More Intimate Environment
Residential rehabs tend to be at their most quiet around the holidays. And that’s not a bad thing at all! Actually, the period around Christmas tends to be the best time to start treatment as capacity is lower while the number of staff remains the same. In other words, that means a higher staff-to-patient ratio, meaning you, as a client, get more individual attention and better help.
Most residential rehab centres, including Castle Craig, are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Unlike many institutions, addiction treatment facilities and their staff do not take days off. Don’t think that going during the holiday season means you’ll be alone or ignored — it’s quite the opposite.
6. Avoid the Crowds
On the other hand, waiting until January tends to result in the opposite. Residential rehabs tend to be at their peak capacity at the start of the year. Why? Far too many people wait until New Year’s to begin their resolutions.
Of course, private rehabs such as Castle Craig always limit their patient numbers throughout the year to assure that every patient gets attentive care — especially in times of COVID-19. However, I think we can all agree that when it comes to addiction treatment, it’s better to have the staff focused on only a few vs. many.
7. Use Up Your Workplace Holiday Allowance
If you have put off going to rehab because you can’t take more than two weeks off work, it might be that you have managed to save up enough time to take longer off, alongside the bank holidays around this time of year, it can be ideal to fit in three or even four weeks away at rehab.
8. What Will You Miss?
Think about your recent Christmases. Sure, everyone has great memories of this or that, but if your addiction overshadowed the good, it can be a painful time to look back on. Take Amanda, for example. Recalling her last holiday with her family, she feels shame that Christmas brought out the worst in her:
“I think back to my last Christmas and am filled with shame and regret. I drank two bottles of wine on Christmas Eve and didn’t get up until noon on Christmas Day, missing the church service and arriving late for the family celebrations.
During Christmas dinner, I drank several glasses of champagne until my parents asked me to stop, at which point I got angry and started an argument about my drinking. I stormed out of the house and drove home, lucky not to get stopped by the police as I was well over the drink driving limit.”
If, like Amanda, you think spending the holidays at home will do more harm than good, going to rehab may be the best choice to avoid another bad Christmas.
What’s Christmas at Rehab Like?
How holidays are celebrated differ from rehab to rehab, so we can’t speak for everyone. However, we can offer some insight into how Christmas looks like at Castle Craig.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we believe that the holiday season is truly a special time and should be recognised in a special way.
For example, in addition to Christmas trees, we normally have a carol service, a non-alcoholic Christmas Eve drinks party, and in the past we have even had a visit from Santa and his reindeer. We also offer day trips to local churches for anyone who wishes to attend services on the day. And of course, anyone who wishes to make a phone or video call to their family and friends is more than welcome to do so.
Of course, due to the coronavirus pandemic, things may be a bit different this year. But regardless of restrictive regulations, we assure all our patients that they will have a happy and unforgettable holiday.
What have our patients said about Christmas at Castle Craig? (Quotes from our Facebook page)
I got to spend Christmas at CC in 2016 and it will go down as one of the best Christmases of my life and New Year’s Eve in ECU was just amazing! Never ever did I imagine I’d do karaoke without a drink the holidays alone taught me so much x – Ashleigh
I spent Christmas 2001 in there. It was great the groundsman had a sleigh he brought up dressed as Santa – David
Xmas 2007 in CC was close to heaven! – Floris
I spent Christmas 2006 in there and I know that if it wasn’t for Castle Craig staff and community I would not be alive today xxx Eternally grateful xxxxx – Elaine
Arrange a Christmas Rehab Retreat With Castle Craig
If you believe spending the holidays with us is the best option for you, don’t hesitate and call us today to secure your spot. Our residential packages provide all patients with comfortable and cosy ensuite accommodations and access to our public facilities such as a lounge room with a fireplace, a well-equipped fitness centre, and peaceful private walking trails.
Please call our 24-Hour Helpline: 01721 728118 if you wish to discuss the possibility of coming into rehab.
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | June 29, 2021