Addiction can be the result of the person dealing with depression.  Depression increases for many people at Christmas time.

A “normal” person may have a drink or smoke a joint to “take the edge off” and then get back to their festive plans and go about their way.  An addict will spiral very quickly in that one drink or drug is never enough, sometimes referring to the famous quote, “One is too many and a thousand is not enough”.  An addict cannot stop and may end up losing all their spending they planned to use for Christmas shopping or may not even make it to the family event they had been planning.

There may be the 12 days of Christmas, but we are going to look at the top 12 reasons addiction can be worse at Christmas.


There are so many expectations that can come with Christmas and the holiday season.  Family who may not even be part of your life the rest of the year want you at events, work parties, get togethers, Christmas pictures ad infinitum.

2. Family

Family can have its’ challenges at the best of times and this only increases during the stressful holidays.  They may want you at a certain event or need to borrow money.  Perhaps there is someone struggling with addiction and that does affect the entire family.

3. Financial Problems

The one time of year where we are supposed to buy gifts for everyone and have a gift if we go to a friends open house.  It’s tough enough on a regular year, not to mention the exorbitant inflation rates, increased cost of living and interest rates going up, which in turn increases mortgages and rents.  It can appear to be a no win situation.

4. The “Hallmark” Experience

As It’s been said in the past Disney ruined the idea of marriage and Hallmark has done the same for what a lot of our perception can be for what Christmas should look like.  There are no family problems, no struggles, the relationship works out the way it should, the snow is falling and life is beautiful.  In reality, there are struggles and life is what we make of it.

5. Over indulgence

The holidays can be a time of year where those that don’t struggle with substance use can question their use.  There is always a reason to celebrate and parties to attend.

6. Bereavement

The loss of someone during the holidays or any time is an extremely painful experience.

7. Memories

Whether good or bad, memories play a big part during the holidays and in addiction.  A lot of addicts have suffered childhood trauma and maybe never had a family Christmas.  These feelings hit deep and can be brought out during the holidays.  There may also be good memories of family members or friends no longer with us.

8. Out of Routine

Addicts do very well living a life of routine and predictability. It helps us get away from all the chaos we lived in for so many years.  During the holidays, there is usually some time of work, school is out, activities are cancelled or rescheduled and it takes us out of our normal routine.

9. Increased Mental Health Challenges

Depression and Anxiety have really been brought out in the open since our global pandemic.  Many addicts end up using substances to deal with their anxiety or depression (self medicating) which in turn perpetuates the problem.  The holidays can be depressing for many people, whether it is memories or finding a way to make Christmas work for their kids. The days are short as it gets darker earlier and earlier each day and this lack of light can lead to depression.  Anxiety can also be debilitating and the addict may in the moment think substance use is the solution.  It never is.

10. Isolation increases

Isolation is the worst thing for an addict.  Yes, we need time to ourselves, but isolating is when we self-sabotage and don’t participate in life.  The opposite of isolation is connection and that is what truly helps.  Being alone in our own heads for too long doesn’t have great outcomes.

11. Loneliness

It is the constant reminders of the holidays and shopping and Christmas movies.  It can feel like we are supposed to be happy, but this can really lead to a feeling of loneliness for a lot of people.

12. New Year is coming

Addicts can go hard and don’t stop for long periods of time.  There may be a delusion that once the holidays are over and It’s January that they can stop.  It doesn’t work that way.  This is just an excuse to put it off.

Addiction almost always gets worse during the holidays and it is best that it is treated sooner than later.  There may be this idea of waiting until the holidays are over, but that can lead to an uncomfortable Christmas for the entire family.  It can also lead to death or an overdose.  During the holidays liquor and bar sales are at their peak and car accidents and drunk driving increase. If you’re not dealing with the problem, then you are part of the problem.

We can help you and your family get into the solution.  We excel in drug and alcohol interventions, relapse-prevention plans and recovery coaching.  Connect with us on any of our social channels or call us at 1-888-438-9991 or email [email protected]