thanksgiving sobriety

4 Tips to Make It Through Thanksgiving With Your Sobriety Intact

Although the holidays are supposed to be filled with good cheer, they can be hard on people who are in recovery. Travel, financial situations, social gatherings and expectations can make Thanksgiving stressful. Plus, if others are raising a glass and celebrating, someone who has struggled with addiction may find it hard to cope with cravings and stay sober. It is possible to make it through Thanksgiving with your sobriety intact, though.

Prepare Your Mindset

You don’t start drinking again because you pick up alcohol. You pick up that drink because a thought is planted in your brain. Before you travel, invite friends over or go to any holiday parties, have a talk with yourself. Recommit to your sobriety.

Any hesitation leaves a door open. If you tell yourself that you’d like to stay sober but you’re not sure if you can, you’re playing with fire. Eradicate the option of drinking altogether.

Think about a friend who is a vegetarian or a vegan. Do they slip up periodically and nosh on a slice of bacon? Probably not. Most serious vegans are incredibly committed to their eating practices. They’re excited about doing what they believe is best for their health and the environment.

You can be just as excited about your sobriety. Visualize yourself sober. You look good, you feel great. Your mind is clear, and you’re proud of yourself. You won’t spend the holiday in a haze of inebriation and hangover. Instead, you’ll wake up every morning feeling lively and refreshed.

Get Sobriety Support

Are you already getting anxious thinking about Thanksgiving stress? Whether you’re heading to work parties or family get-togethers, you’ll probably have to say “No, thank you” every time someone offers you a drink. Just the thought of that can send you into negative modes of thinking.

Even if you haven’t attended a meeting or support group in a while, you might want to go to one during the holidays. Being around other people who are dealing with the same stressors makes you feel like you’re not alone. You may also pick up tips about how they’re handling holiday stress and the urge to drink or use.

You don’t have to attend the same local meetings that you’ve been going to. If you’re traveling, look for a meeting near your location. If you don’t have access to a car, talk to a trusted loved one about supporting you by driving you to meetings.

Stock Up on Replacements

There’s something comforting about holding a glass to sip from at a party. It gives you something to do in between conversations. It helps you feel purposeful even while you’re sitting in the corner.

Make sure that you bring your own beverages if you know that you’re going to be tempted at parties and gatherings. If you’re a beer drinker, a can of soda or seltzer might help you feel comfortable. If you prefer cocktails, mix up a “mocktail” to bring with you.

This isn’t the time to deprive yourself of anything except for alcohol and harmful substances. Go ahead and help yourself to that extra slice of pie and allow yourself to drink some non-alcoholic eggnog.

Bring Your Stress-Busting Tools to the Thanksgiving Dinner

You’ve learned a lot about coping with stress. Now is the time to put it all into practice. Before the holidays, remind yourself of the resources that you find most effective for combating stress.

Perhaps you feel calm when you rub lavender essential oil on your temples. Maybe you need to meditate for 20 minutes before you leave the house. Embodying your emotions and focusing on your needs can prevent you from reacting dramatically to people and situations that stress you out.

Concentrate on self-care this holiday season. When you’re running around and doing so much for others, you can neglect the things that you need to stay sober. It’s not selfish to focus on yourself. Set clear boundaries and spend time relaxing.

This might mean that you have to leave a party early to head home and take a bath. You may need to say no to some holiday gatherings. Ask yourself what is most important for your health and sanity, and follow your intuition.

You might even want to meet with your sponsor or a counselor before the holidays to get clear on the tools that effectively help you stay calm, reduce cravings and stick to your sobriety. When you go into the holidays with these powerful ideas fresh in your mind, you’ll be likely to sail through the season while staying sober.

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