On Thanksgiving Day, family members come together to show their gratitude and love. That typically means plenty of food, laughter, desserts, and alcohol. For those coming out of addiction recovery
, the holidays can be a tough time. Don’t feel you have to choose between your family and your sobriety. You can set yourself up for sober Thanksgiving success with the help of the five tips below.
Know Your Triggers
You’ve been a part of your family for a long time. Try to anticipate situations that could trigger a relapse. If you have an uncle that consistently pressures everyone to have one more drink, explain to him ahead of time that you won’t be having any.
Ask yourself in advance:
- WHAT could trigger you?
- WHY could it cause a relapse in your alcohol addiction?
- HOW can you healthily handle things?
Even well-meaning relatives can send you spiraling. It could be a passive-aggressive relative trying to set you up with the love of your life, or a well-meaning parent who reminds you a little too pointedly about your alcohol use disorder. Instead of flying off the handle or sneaking a drink, remember the tools you learned in recovery. If all else fails, find the door and gather your serenity in a calmer place.
Keep Busy to Ensure a Sober Thanksgiving
You can avoid standing around awkwardly without a drink. Help in the kitchen or come just before the meal and bring dessert.
Determine ahead of time what might bother you and make you want to drink. If you have a family of big drinkers, it might be better to leave right after lunch without staying to watch the game — as everyone else cracks open a few beers.
If you feel awkward, keep busy. That could mean helping in the kitchen or having a chat with a trusted cousin who knows your predicament. Walk the dog, play with your adorable cousins, or challenge someone to a game of Clue.
Avoid Aggravating Conversations
You can’t always avoid annoying conversations. However, if you become aggravated, it may be best to walk away. Many people recovering from alcohol addiction find arguments trigger relapses. Therefore, do everything you can to avoid them, even if that means walking away.
If you can’t steer the conversation to a new topic, politely excuse yourself and take a walk around the block. If you have to choose between keeping everyone happy and staying sober, choose sobriety.
Make It All About the Food
For a sober Thanksgiving, concentrate on the food. It’s better to gain a few pounds then throw away the progress that you have made. So, fill up your plate with seconds and thirds if you have to. Keep your attention focused on the food. If the party picks up and wine and beer flow, ask for a to-go plate.
As long as Thanksgiving isn’t at your house this year, you can bow out gracefully with a prepared excuse. Blame it on work, a tired child, or a sudden headache. By leaving early, you can still enjoy time with the family without idle time to wonder what you’re missing by not drinking.
You could always host your own sober Thanksgiving and invite everyone to come. Invite friends and family members who understand your alcohol addiction and support your efforts to maintain a sober life.
Anytime you feel overwhelmed, find a place where you can calm down. Typically, there’s one bedroom with all the guest coats piled up. Maybe that would make a great place to settle in for a nap and ensure a sober Thanksgiving? You can overcome your alcohol addiction
during the holidays and enjoy getting to know your family again.