Thanksgiving is a stressful holiday for many people. You may have to travel or cook for a lot of guests. Whenever you have a big family gathering there are bound to be arguments of some kind. If you are still relatively new to recovery, you may feel extra pressure, especially if your family members drink on the holidays. If you’re feeling nervous about the upcoming holiday, here are some tips for staying sober on Thanksgiving.
Resolve to stay sober.
The most important thing is decide beforehand that you’re not going to have a drink no matter what–not if your cousin makes fun of you for not drinking, not if your brother just came back from the Highlands with an assortment of single malt whiskies, and not if you get into a shouting match with your uncle and feel like you just need something to calm your nerves. If you start out with the conviction that staying sober is non-negotiable, then you should be ok.
Adjust your expectations.
We all want our holiday to be a happy, relaxing time, catching up with relatives we don’t see often enough, stuffing ourselves with good food, and nodding off while watching the football game. However, it’s good to be ready for any triggers that may arise, such as seeing others drink, getting into arguments, or having to toast with fizzy water. Imagine any situation that might cause a craving and think about how you will handle it. Keep in mind there might be situations you didn’t anticipate.
It helps to bring someone along for moral support. It can be a supportive friend, maybe one who has nowhere to go for Thanksgiving, or someone from your 12-step group. If you anticipate a stressful time, there’s no need to face it alone. If you can’t arrange to bring anyone with you, at least have someone you can call and talk to if you’re stressed or you feel a craving coming on.
Have a non-alcoholic drink handy.
The easiest way to avoid being offered drinks is to have a drink in your hand already. You might want to bring something just in case. Hot cider is a great Thanksgiving drink. Bring whatever you’ll feel most comfortable with. You might find other people are glad you brought something non-alcoholic.
Have an exit plan.
Be sure you won’t be stuck there if things get too tense. You don’t want endure a bad scene for too long. If you didn’t drive yourself, have a way to get home. If you’re staying there, have some place you can get away to if necessary, maybe a friend’s house. At least find a place you can be alone for a few minutes to get your head together.
Go to a meeting.
It might be a good idea to attend a meeting either before or after or both. If you leave Thanksgiving dinner feeling a bit off balance, it might help to connect with other sober people and share your experience.
If you’re struggling with substance use, Recovery Ways can help. We offer intensive outpatient treatment as well as residential treatment. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.