Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season, a time to gather together and celebrate. Usually, people travel from near and far to be with one another for a day of giving thanks. However this year more individuals will be staying home and will be sharing a meal with family and loved ones over a computer screen.
The holiday season is usually a challenging few weeks for people in recovery. Trying to maintain an alcohol-free Thanksgiving is hard. This year poses an even bigger challenge considering the restrictions in place. Though the holidays are usually a time of excitement and good cheer, they’re going to look different this year, too.
Though this year adds another layer of difficulty, it’s possible to stay sober this Thanksgiving. You can make it through the holiday without having to take a drink and still enjoy the festivities. These 4 tips will help you prepare yourself for an alcohol-free Thanksgiving this year.
Prepare Your Plan Ahead of Time
Relapses don’t usually occur by accident. You might not expect it when it happens but there’s oftentimes a subtle shift in perspective before it does. A relapse doesn’t start when you take a drink; it starts with the thought that comes before the drink. There’s a thought in your brain, whether you’re aware of it or not, that insists you can drink normally.
Prepare yourself before Thanksgiving arrives and commit to your sobriety in the same way. Remind yourself of where you came from and what you don’t want to return to. Don’t let that sneaky voice in the back of your head convince you to give up what you’ve worked hard to achieve.
The holidays are already stressful and chaotic. Don’t wait until the last minute to reflect on and recommit to your sobriety. Get yourself mentally ready sooner rather than later. You have a better chance of maintaining an alcohol-free Thanksgiving if you do.
Call On Your Sober Support System
Staying sober any time of year is difficult to do alone. The holiday season is even harder to get through without any help. You need to call on your sober support system if you want to have an alcohol-free Thanksgiving.
If you already have a recovery support system in place, stay firmly planted in it throughout the next few weeks. If you don’t already have a sober support system, now is a great time to set one up, There are a few things to keep in mind when determining who and what to include.
Many people make recovery support meetings a central part of their recovery. People in these groups know exactly what you’re going through from their own personal experience. Attending meetings is a great way to stay centered and remain focused on your recovery to ensure an alcohol-free Thanksgiving.
Another option is having a few close friends you can call on when you’re feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Choose people who understand the challenge of staying sober through the holidays. Make sure you select reliable people who can take your calls when you reach out. Don’t limit yourself to only one or two people; you want at least a few you can call on.
Bring Your Own Beverage
BYOB. But don’t bring booze, bring your favorite beverage instead. One of the best ways to avoid people offering you a drink is to keep one in your hand at all times. Having your own drinks on hand also limits the temptation of seeing what they have on hand “just in case.”
If you enjoy drinks packaged in cans, bring some cans of soda or sparkling water. If you prefer cocktails, bring ingredients to mix up a “mocktail” or two. When you’re prepared with your own drinks you’re one step ahead on keeping Thanksgiving alcohol-free.
Don’t Forget Your Coping Skills
Coping skills are a crucial part of maintaining recovery during the holiday season. You’ve learned plenty throughout your recovery and now it’s time to bring them to the table. Whatever your preferred actions are, don’t forget to make use of them when the time comes.
Whether it’s meditation beforehand, bringing a sober friend with you, or even taking a quiet moment of mindfulness during the gathering, keep your coping skills on hand. If you want to ensure an alcohol-free Thanksgiving this year, commit to yourself, your loved ones, and your sobriety. You can make it through the holiday without having to take a drink.