It could be difficult to celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving, especially during the first year after addiction treatment. Celebrating Thanksgiving typically comes with good food, good company, and good drinks. Most people have come to expect these things each year. However, while you can avoid friends who aren’t supportive of your sobriety, it’s not easy to avoid family members during the holidays. Your family members may not want to celebrate holidays without alcohol, even if it will trigger you to return to use.
As a person recovering from alcohol addiction, you’re a changed person, but your friends and family are still the same. Although you’re powerless over their behavior, you can control your own. Getting and staying sober requires accountability, awareness, commitment, and support. For help managing your sobriety this Thanksgiving, contact Casco Bay Recovery by calling 844.956.3520 or reaching out to our team online.
1. Avoid High-Risk Situations
You should be aware of your triggers and equip yourself with healthy coping skills you’ve practiced to deal with them. However, the best way to deal with triggers is to avoid them completely. If you’re going back to the neighborhood where you grew up, stay away from old friends who may not know that they shouldn’t drink around you. Recognize which family members may set you off, whether it’s because they’re drinking or they have behaviors that otherwise stress you out. Make a backup plan if you need to leave.
2. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
If you can, bring a buddy with you for the holidays. Family members are less likely to recreate unhealthy family dynamics with a stranger in the house. Phone or message a supportive sponsor or friend if you can’t find someone to go with you. Having someone you can honestly talk to about your thoughts and feelings will help relieve any stress you might feel. In addition, you may want to schedule a talk with your sponsor or recovery coach before you leave to see your family for Thanksgiving. Try to check in with them daily. If you’re traveling out of town, look for support groups with meetings in the area so you can talk to them.
3. Help Out the Host
Make yourself useful during the holiday season. Offer to chop vegetables, do the dishes, or sweep the floor. Notice things that need to be done around the house. In past family gatherings, you may have either been absent or too busy drinking to be helpful. Now that you’re sober, here’s a chance to make amends. Don’t tell your family that you’ve changed. Show them, and then, maybe they will make an effort to be careful about what will trigger you.
4. Bring Your Own Beverages
After addiction treatment, annual celebrations with beer, wine, and other liquor will be sober holidays for you. However, it may be challenging to maintain your sobriety if there’s nothing for you to drink except for water.
To make things easier for you and your host, it’s a good idea to pack some non-alcoholic beverages that you enjoy. You can also pick some up at the store on the way. This way, your host won’t have to do anything special to accommodate your sobriety. Furthermore, if you have some drink in your hand throughout the celebration, there’s a good chance that your family members won’t offer you an alcoholic beverage.
How Can Someone Enjoy Sober Holidays?
Drinking alcohol on Thanksgiving may feel like a tradition, but it’s not necessary to feel the holiday spirit or to spend time with family. No matter what anyone says, you don’t need to drink alcohol to enjoy the holidays. You can always say “no” if anyone offers you a drink. If saying “no” doesn’t seem to work, and the tips above don’t seem to be making the situation easier for you to bear, you should find a way to leave the situation. Make an excuse to get out of there early.
The true meaning of Thanksgiving is giving thanks. So to enjoy the holiday, you can count your blessings and be of service. This is your chance to put everything you’ve learned about staying sober into practice. No matter what you’re experiencing, remember that you’re thankful. It wasn’t long ago that you were feeling ashamed and hopeless. Feast in gratitude, and hopefully, your family will see the change in you and support your recovery journey.
Begin Your Journey to Sobriety at Casco Bay Recovery
If you are looking for an alcohol addiction treatment program with aftercare options in Portland, Maine, contact Casco Bay Recovery. We offer a range of treatment options that we tailor to the needs of the client, including:
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Outpatient programs
- Dual diagnosis treatment
Call 844.956.3520 or reach out to our team online.