Thanksgiving is often identified with celebration, family, and togetherness. However, for people who are in recovery, it can be a dreaded holiday. If you are trying to stay sober, every little thing can serve as a trigger for relapse. Seeing other people around you drinking and overindulging is sometimes enough to lure you into temptation. The expected family conflicts is also another relapse trigger that takes place during this holiday.
Is it possible to stay sober during Thanksgiving? The answer is YES. There are different ways on how to stay sober on Thanksgiving and continue your sobriety journey. While doing so can be difficult, being prepared with a plan of action can make this goal more manageable.
Below are some tips which can hopefully help you achieve this during the holidays.
Spend Thanksgiving with supportive people
It will be difficult to stay sober if people around you are offering you drinks left and right. Everyone knows that “One drink will not hurt” is a falsehood that will only open a can of worms. It may start with just a “harmless” glass of wine but before you know it, you’re flat drunk crawling home. This is not the scenario you want to put yourself in.
It is highly important to celebrate Thanksgiving with people who support your sobriety goals. Spend time with family and friends who understand what you are going through and why it’s important that you stay sober. While it is unavoidable that there will be people in the celebration who will drink alcohol, these people should be conscious not to force you to also drink with them.
Bring your own non-alcoholic drink
There have been many instances when recovering alcoholics get tempted to drink alcohol because they don’t have anything else to drink except water. This can easily be solved by bringing your own non-alcoholic drink. Before going to a party, drop by a supermarket and get yourself some alcohol-free sparkling wine and cider. Be careful to read the labels because some non-alcoholic beers actually contain alcohol.
If you have a bit more time, try to be more creative and concoct your own non-alcoholic cocktails. There are many different Thanksgiving-inspired non-alcoholic drink ideas available online that will spice up your event, without giving you a nasty hangover.
Here is one quick recipe with just three ingredients:
Sparkling Apple Berry Mocktail
Non-alcoholic Thanksgiving drink
1/2 oz mixed berry syrup
3 oz apple cider
3 oz sparkling water
Place berry syrup and apple cider in a clear serving glass. Add ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with whole berries and stir before drinking.
Keep away from the drama
The picture-perfect Thanksgiving tableau comprises of people gathered around a table filled with Turkey dishes, laughing and celebrating together. While this usually happens at least for a few hours, everything is not always smooth sailing. When family members see one another and spend time together after a long period, conflicts and arguments are often unavoidable.
If you are spending Thanksgiving with your family members, chill down and don’t engage in any arguments, however shallow the issue may be. Keep in mind that this is not the right time to uncover old hurts and pains. If you feel that some members of your family are starting a conflict, it’s better to physically remove yourself from this situation. Whether you are a part of the issue or not, avoid participating in the argument. Excuse yourself by going to another room or you can even leave the party if you are near your own house.
Keeping away from the drama may seem like a selfish, uncaring move, but in reality, it is a self-preservation act to keep sane and not be tempted to drink.
Start your own tradition
If you’re worried that attending your usual Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends may be too risky for you, then don’t do it. Do not pressure yourself to go through the festivities as other people would expect if you’re not ready to do so. Do not push yourself to attend a family Thanksgiving celebration if you know that doing so will only cause you to relapse.
Friends and family who love you will understand if you skip this year’s festivities because you are working on yourself. Take advantage of this free time that you have to start a new tradition wherein you can feel at peace and fulfilled. Here are a few suggestions:
- You can host your own sober Thanksgiving party and invite new friends from meetings.
- Engage in self-care activities like pampering yourself, having a massage, or doing yoga.
- Travel and explore new places.
- Give back by volunteering in charity organizations.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, help is available.
Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.