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Setting Boundaries for the Holidays

Holidays shouldn’t need boundaries, we might try to tell ourselves as we prepare for the holiday season. When we think about it, boundaries might be exactly what our holiday celebrations need, especially now that we are fierce, fabulous, authentic women of sobriety. Focusing on compassion in our recovery helps us act gently toward ourselves and toward others. We have realized that though we are recovering from alcoholism and addiction, everyone has something. There could be years of family history behind every smile or every straight face that we know nothing about. Holidays can bring out the best in people. Holidays can also bring out the worst. One of the ways we prepare to expect the unexpected during the holidays is to set some boundaries for ourselves and with others.

Ideas for holiday boundaries

  • Say No to hosting this year, even if everyone is expecting you to host, because you always do.
  • Decline invitations and keep your holiday party schedule simple. Remember, easy does it.
  • Don’t offer your home to the masses, instead, take yourself and your family somewhere else.
  • Limit your spending on gifts and the amount of gifts that you buy.
  • Decide which questions about your experience of alcoholism, drug addiction, detox, treatment, and recovery you are willing to answer and which you are not. Your recovery is not a topic of conversation, it is part of your life.
  • Choose battles over wars. Family members can be trying and triggering during the holidays. Drama is always looming. Set boundaries by ignoring certain conversations, walking away when necessary, or standing up for yourself, or others, if you feel it is right.


Setting boundaries is only one part of the equation when it comes to boundaries. Boundaries are best when they are enforced. Boundaries come in three forms: rigid, flexible, and open. Open boundaries are not really boundaries, and rigid boundaries leave little room for improvisation. Flexible boundaries help us be compassionate toward others, let go of our expectations, then take action when necessary. Enforcing our boundaries requires boundaries of our own. How many times are we willing to explain ourselves and say ‘no’? How far are we willing to let uncomfortable conversations go before we make a change? We can work with our sponsor, our therapist, and our support network to decide. Once we have a plan, we bravely and boldly go into the holiday season ready to take care of ourselves and our recovery.


The holiday season is no match for women who are strong in their recovery. Villa Tranquil offers women the opportunity to continue their care after primary treatment. Our transitional living home provides the safety and serenity women need to continue growing and developing independence in sobriety. Call us today for information: 214-799-3080