Our Top 4 tips to stay sober through the Thanksgiving Holiday
While the holidays are often a happy time for most, for others, holidays can bring out stress, worry and anxiety. Depending on a person’s past experiences, the holidays can bring out negative feelings that lead the recovering alcoholic or addict to seek a way to cope in any way they can.
Thanksgiving is also a time to celebrate our blessings with the company of our loved ones. Thanksgiving can also be a time of extreme loneliness for those who don’t have friends or family near.
Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday to navigate sober if you are in early recovery and even after multiple years of sobriety, oftentimes holidays like Thanksgiving can trigger the desire to numb or self medicate in order to find some relief from uncomfortable emotions.
Even if your family doesn’t drink, or alcohol will not be present at gatherings, the very act of being around family can be stressful. It’s best to be prepared beforehand so that you can ensure a successful, sober holiday season.
It is always our primary goal at Collective Recovery to help our existing clients, our alumni and our community navigate staying clean and sober during any time of the year, and the holidays are not any different.
Ultimately, at Collective Recovery, relapse prevention is a number one goal of ours, which is why we have provided our top four tips on staying sober through the Thanksgiving holiday.
Here are important suggestions that someone can use to stay sober on Thanksgiving:
- Talk to your support group beforehand. Find support from others who have experience with navigating staying sober through the holidays. Be honest beforehand with your support group BEFORE the holiday comes, so that you can ease a lot of anxiety as you navigate through Thanksgiving. Your support group can help you make a plan to spend the holiday together sober by being your sober buddy, or you can have someone sober you trust on speed dial on your phone to check in throughout the day. Connecting often with others who understand and share experiences will help you handle any difficult situation and environments you might face during the holiday.
- Have an exit strategy. This means, if at all possible, drive your own car, and be prepared to leave when you feel uncomfortable. You are not required to stay at a gathering if you are too uncomfortable or if you feel it threatens your sobriety. It’s best to remove yourself from the situation and stay sober, rather than risk relapsing. There is no shame in leaving a party early if you are distressed.
- Bring your own non-alcoholic drink. At many holiday parties, there may be some form of alcohol present. You can always feel prepared to say ‘no’ to a drink by bringing your own preferred non-alcoholic beverage! Today there are many non-alcoholic options and I find that when I bring my own sparkling water, and have it readily available in my hand, I am not asked by friends or family members if I would like something to drink.
- Be of service. In early recovery you may feel alone. Many do not have a great relationship with their families. We suggest to get out of yourself, to find ways you can be of service to others. This may be as simple as volunteering at a local food bank, soup kitchen, or anything else that you can do to be of service. If you do spend time with family, being of service to them by cleaning up, doing dishes, etc, is a great way to stay sober.
We hope these tips helped you or a loved one navigate the Thanksgiving Holiday sober!
If you, or a loved one needs help with substance abuse, please contact us today at 1-866-UTAH-HOPE or our free benefits review on our website.