Thanksgiving can be a challenge if you are newly sober. With an abundance of food and drinks at the table, the temptation to drink alcohol or use substances may often be too much to handle. But if you are prepared with the right tools and have a strong system of support, you have a good chance of enjoying the holidays alcohol- or substance-free.
Five Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Sober
You may have been used to a Thanksgiving focused on drinking with family or friends. Or maybe you got used to spending the day alone, away from those you loved, so you could use drugs or alcohol without facing criticism or scrutiny. Now that you are sober, the holiday can be so much more. It can be about giving thanks and celebrating your new lifestyle and sobriety. There are endless ways to celebrate Thanksgiving while staying sober:
- Give back. One of the best ways to show your thanks is to give back to others in need. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity for volunteering in your local community. You may want to help at a local soup kitchen or shelter, helping prepare or serve a dinner to those who need it. It’s quite likely that you’ll end the day feeling a sense of peace and gratitude.
- Start a new tradition. Maybe you used to celebrate the day with a toast and drinks. LEt the past go as you create a new, sober tradition for Thanksgiving. Consider going for an annual walk with your family where you can appreciate the outdoors and the company.
- Celebrate with others who are sober. If your family is unwilling to make any compromises to accommodate your sensitivity to substances, and/or if they pressure you to use, celebrate with other people this year. Spend the day with those who support your journey and understand that your sobriety is important. If you must go to a Thanksgiving dinner where drinks may be served, bring along a sober friend for support. Knowing you have a sober friend nearby can make a big difference in how you face the day.
- Put yourself first. Be thankful for how far you have come, and make yourself a priority. You can celebrate Thanksgiving by starting off your day with prayer or meditation, then focus on doing things throughout the day to care for yourself. This can include giving yourself some rest, exercising, or simply enjoying the things you are most grateful for in life.
- Be the host. If you host Thanksgiving and invite only those who support your journey, you have nothing to worry about. When you are the host, you can make sure the celebration is drug and alcohol-free so there is no chance of being surrounded by temptation.
Tips if You Begin to Struggle
It is okay to struggle and feel like you may need some help to make it through the holiday. Prepare yourself by understanding what your triggers may be. These can be anything from people to places. Once you recognize what your particular triggers may be, you can avoid them so you aren’t in situations or around certain people that can make you feel uncomfortable. If you are in a situation where you feel tempted, you have the right to leave or walk away. If you still find yourself in a place where relapse feels imminent, take action:
- Ask for help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help if you begin to feel overwhelmed at Thanksgiving. You can find support at 12-step meetings, from your sponsor, or by confiding in a trusted friend.
- Give yourself a break. No one is perfect. What matters most is your sobriety, so make that the priority this year, even if it means saying no to gatherings or events that everyone expects you to attend.
- If you slip or relapse, don’t beat yourself up. Just recognize it as a sign to revisit your treatment plan and work with a therapist to get yourself back on track.
Do You Need an Indiana Treatment Center?
If you are looking for a treatment center in Indiana, Anabranch Recovery Center in Terre Haute is here to help. Our team of dedicated professionals can help put you on the path to recovery. We offer a range of treatment options and can create a plan to match your specific needs. To find out more about our programs and services or to get answers to any questions or concerns, contact us online today.