Holidays in Rehab – The Best Gift

Holidays in rehab

The eating disorder team is in full regalia (including therapy dog Apol)!

It’s the holidays—the time for pageants at church and school, traditions, office parties, and family responsibilities. At Sanford Behavioral Health (Sanford), we understand that those with substance use disorders, eating disorders, and mental health conditions try to find reasons to put off getting treatment. Of course, the holidays present the ultimate excuse, no matter whether you participate in Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or other celebrations.


Why do individuals or their family members call treatment centers to gather information but put off going to treatment until a future date? Because they know there is a problem but don’t want to impact their day-to-day activities, especially experiencing the holidays in rehab. Sadly, these events present the same triggers that have them calling us in the first place, and the holidays are actually an ideal time to embark on recovery.


“The best gift you could give your loved ones is your commitment to getting help during the holidays – or any time of the year.” Jordan Higby, Admissions Specialist


Holidays in Rehab – What Sanford Does to Boost the Mood

best gift rehab for the holidays - a schedule of fun activities.

The Spirit Week events present something to look forward to!

At Sanford, we do our best to create a positive and homelike atmosphere for our clients and our team all year round. However, during any holiday season, we put together Spirit Week with fun activities, decorations, and client and staff participation. You may ask how a “cute and funky holiday sweater day” is part of evidence-based programming. Sanford founder Rae Green, JD, LPC, CAADC, says, “A holiday in rehab is the most important holiday our clients will ever have. They are sacrificing their time with family and exhibiting great courage, working to give themselves back to their loved ones. We feel a responsibility to lighten their load with fun bonding activities.”


Benefits of Holiday Spirit Week

  • As a behavioral health facility, Sanford values mental health as well as physical health. There is a direct correlation between staff wellbeing and patient outcomes. With satisfied team members, there is better and more consistent patient care. A happy workplace boosts mood and productivity. Rae Green says, “For those who work in the behavioral health field, it feels good to make others feel good. Laughter in the halls, sparkly decorations, and communal activities are a reward for Sanford team members, too!”
  • Celebrating Spirit Week creates excitement and a homelike atmosphere. The Sanford team posts a schedule of daily events the week prior to the festivities. This gives clients something to look forward to. Studies show anticipation can increase happiness and well-being.


“Life can be hard in treatment and recovery. As recreational therapists, we are here to help our clients renew or, for the first time, discover a love for life and that silliness we all have inside us. We give them the opportunity to find the positives and get out of the rigid bubble they have themselves in.” Raina Bawden, CTRS, Recreation Therapist


  • Peer connectedness is a vital part of treatment for mental health conditions. At a time when clients are usually home with loved ones, lasting relationships are naturally formed with others in rehab. The feeling of community is replicated in outside 12-step meetings.
  • During holidays, it takes an even stronger commitment to do the hard work of treatment. The staff at Sanford wants to give back and help create new memories clients can share with loved ones when they go home.
  • Families are secure in the knowledge that their loved one is safe, occupied, and working on their substance use or eating disorder. Family members can attend the Family Program to receive education and prepare a recovery-friendly home to support loved ones in treatment.


holidays in rehab photos of staff in festive sweaters

From top left to right, Matthew McClellan, Director of HR; Alec Green, Managing Director; Sam Domine, HR Generalist; Amy Goodman, Credentialing; Bruce Bustin, Facilities Lead; Lynnel Brewster, Clinical Director; Jean Alger, Clinical Therapist and Dylan Stankewicz, Unit Coordinator


Rae Green says, “December and the New Year are the season of hope and renewal. At Sanford Behavioral Health, we are given the opportunity to save lives, families, and communities, and we take it seriously. We are trained and ready for the challenge. There is healing from the disease of addiction, eating disorders, and mental health conditions, and within the healing is hope. So, it feels right to celebrate.”


If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, eating disorders, or co-occurring mental health conditions, don’t wait to change your life – click the link below to speak with an admissions specialist.



Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit