Everyone’s excited about Thanksgiving. Everyone but you, it seems. Being newly sober has its ups and downs, but it can be especially challenging during the holiday season. This is the time of the year when everyone seems to be indulging in more alcohol. Temptation is everywhere.
As you continue on your journey to lifelong sobriety, you’re committed to making the most of this Thanksgiving. So how do you survive this turkey feast – peaceful and sober? Below are a few suggestions to help you get through the holiday – and be grateful for it!
Realize that you’re going into the holiday sober
If you think about drinking on Thanksgiving, you play into the idea that it’s a possibility. Reinforce the fact that you are sober and that you won’t be drinking alcohol on the holiday. This is easier said than done, but it’s an important step in maintaining your sobriety. In other words, eliminate any possibility that you might drink. It’s not an option.
Find things to get excited about
There’s got to be at least a few things that you love about Thanksgiving, right? Maybe it’s a friend or family member you haven’t seen in awhile. Perhaps it’s a delicious slice of pumpkin pie or fresh, roasted turkey with gravy. You might even love the anticipation of going shopping on Black Friday. Concentrate on the things that make you happy!
Decide how you will manage stress
Let’s face it. Thanksgiving probably won’t be a perfect day. A family member might offend you by saying something silly, or the corn casserole that you worked so hard on might not turn out. This is why you need to have your toolbox ready – the things that you can count on to de-stress and manage temptation.
Examples of stress relievers include lavender oil, deep breathing exercises, a cup of warm tea, soothing music or an anti-anxiety app. Make sure you have these things ready to go in case you need to step away for a few minutes.
Establish your boundaries – and don’t back down
It wouldn’t be right to push a vegetarian to eat meat on Thanksgiving, just as it wouldn’t be fair to push drinking on you. Set your boundaries, and don’t feel that you need to explain yourself to anyone. It’s your decision and that’s it. But, do be honest about your choice not to drink. Beating around the bush or making up excuses can get you into more trouble, so be clear when you say, “No thanks. I don’t drink.”
Follow your recovery plan
Attend additional meetings, call your sponsor or read literature during this time. It’s important that you follow through with your continuing care plan and know where to find extra support should you need it.
When Thanksgiving is over, treat yourself with a relaxing massage or a new movie you’ve been wanting to see – with popcorn! The road to recovery has its bumps, but once you get through the holiday, you’ll be glad you made the effort. Hopefully there will be many more sober holidays to add to the books!