Thanksgiving can be a tough holiday for a lot of folks in recovery and it may even be the first family gathering for you in some time. Knowing this, we put together a few tips to help you enjoy the holiday and safeguard your sobriety (and sanity).
Ask yourself these questions. Being prepared is the best thing you can do for your sobriety. Along these lines, it helps to reflect on past Thanksgivings and/or big family get-togethers so you can know what to expect when it comes to potential triggers.
- Was it stressful?
- Was there drinking?
- Were there any particular family members who stirred up negative emotions (anger, guilt, stress, etc.)?
Plan your entrance. Keeping the above in mind, you’re next step is to think about how you will (or will not) attend. For example:
- Should you go early so you have time to settle in?
- Should you go late to avoid any one-on-one interactions?
- Do you need to bring a sober friend?
- Is there one particular family member who you need to avoid?
- Is it safer not to attend at all and celebrate with sober friends?
Create an exit. It’s smart to have an exit strategy – ideally one that you tell the host about beforehand – in case you find yourself unable to handle the situation and need to leave early.
Line up support. Tell a sober friend or sponsor about your plans and make sure he or she can take your call. Thanksgiving can be triggering with family and old friends around but it can also be lonely. So if you decide to skip the family gathering, make sure you have plans in place to share the day with a sober friend or attend a 12-step meeting or volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for the day.
Be grateful. Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to being grateful, so take time to write down at least three things you are grateful for. Here’s one to get you started: You have a chance at a new, sober life. Happy Thanksgiving!
Intensive Family Therapy at Providence
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